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Cigarette Smoke Detection In Vehicles

We have been supplying cigarette smoke detectors for the last 5 years and we regularly receive enquiries along the lines of; “I have a fleet of vehicles and I know my staff are smoking in them against our policies, how can I prove this?”. In this article we are going to outline the considerations for implementing a suitable solution.

Selecting The Appropriate Cigarette Smoke Detector

There are two common types of cigarette detectors:

  • Smoke Detector Cigarette smoke detectors work on a similar principle to standard smoke detectors relying on smoke particles entering the device which are examined to determine whether the alarm should be triggered.
  • Flame Detector On the other hand a cigarette flame detector reacts to a naked flame and, in the case of the Cig-Arette range we supply, these detect a 25 mm (1 inch) flame at a distance of 6 metres within 1 second.

In essence cigarette smoke detectors are extremely sensitive smoke detectors and much like smoke detectors they are not able to differentiate between particles from cigarette smoke and other similar sized particles. As such environmental fumes, including those from exhausts, do pose a serious risk of causing false alarms. Therefore flame detection should be considered for vehicles.

Monitoring Alarms

Should an alarm occur the new SD range of Cig-Arette detectors will play a clear voice warning which can be selected from a number of stock messages or you can even record and save  a custom message onto the inbuilt SD card. This will alert the driver that they have been caught smoking and the alarm will clear after a given period. The built-in SD card also includes an alarm counter which is simply the number of times the detector has gone into alarm. If you intend to monitor the system you can put the SD card into a computer to determine whether an alarm has occurred.


As previously mentioned flame detectors react to a naked flame so in practical terms will go into alarm if someone lights their cigarette with a match or lighter in plain sight of the detector. This we know will not always be the case as sometimes the cigarette may already be lit when entering the vehicle. However, the mere presence of a cigarette smoke detection system is often enough to prevent users from smoking in the first place, on top of this, not many people are aware of how a flame detector works and therefore do not know how to overcome the aforementioned limitation.

Finally the alarm counter on the SD card does not include a date/time stamp so in the scenario where multiple drivers are sharing the same vehicle, you would be required to check the alarm counter after each shift.

If you have any questions about this topic then please feel free to get in touch or leave us a comment below.

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