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Vape Detection Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

Where and how do I purchase a Zeptive Vape Sensor?
  • is the best place to purchase or call (617) 468-1500 to speak directly to a Zeptive customer service employee.

  • You will need to consider the following:

    • Wi-Fi or Cellular based communication?

    • Ceiling or Wall mounted?

    • Do you require a protective wire-guard?

What does the Zeptive Vape Sensor detect and how does it do it?
  • The Zeptive Vape Sensor detects the chemical constituents in vape aerosol and uses a variety of sensors with a proprietary set of algorithms that can be individually tuned to provide users customized detection settings to fit their unique environment. Users can adjust their own settings to make systems more or less sensitive or utilize Zeptive’s Support Team to assist.

  • The system detects all types of vape including non-nicotine, nicotine and marijuana (THC) based vape and simultaneously detects smoke.

How sensitive are the sensors?
  • The sensors are extremely sensitive to vape i.e. ppm.

  • The ability for a sensor to detect vape is influenced by numerous factors such as the size of the room, the proximity of the detector to the source of vaping, and the direction, speed, and volume of airflow in the room. Vape is an aerosol and travels via diffusion.

  • The benefits of a battery-operated vape detection device is that you can easily move the device close to the source of the vape.

How much coverage does one sensor provide?
  • Typical coverage is a 12’ x 12’ area with the sensor at a height of 8’, but it does depend on several factors such as room air flow, and where in the room the sensor is placed.

  • Another benefit of the portable, wire-free Zeptive Vape Sensor is that you can easily move the sensor to better detect vaping

How does a wire free (battery with cellular or Wi-Fi communications) vape detector help me?
  • DIY install

    • No need to run wires (Saves $ and time)

    • Connect via cellular or Wi-Fi (assuming you have strong and consistent signal)

    • Select ideal location for your sensor

    • Attach to the wall or ceiling with tamper proof screws

  • Save time and money

    • The Zeptive Vape Sensor can be installed in minutes

    • No need to hire outside help to run power to your sensor

    • If you have ever installed a wire-free smoke detector in your home, then you can install a wire-free vape detector

  • Move your sensors anytime

    • As your vaping students move locations you can also move your sensors anytime you choose.

    • Move your systems for special events and to enable active detection; this enables you to be forever diligent in protecting your students

What are the alert notification options available?
  • App

    • Individuals who have access to the App can receive notifications via the App and see the status of all of their systems.

  • Web Console

    • Individuals who have access to the Web Console can view notifications and see the status of all of their systems.

  • Text

    • Individuals can receive text notifications

  • E-mail

    • Individuals can receive e-mail notifications

  • Audible

    • The Zeptive Vape Sensor offers an audible alarm that can be:

      • Turned ON or OFF in the App

    • The audible alarm can be used for both vape alarms and tamper alarms

How does the Zeptive Vape Sensor handle tampering?
  • We combat tampering with several approaches:

    • Hardened plastic case to protect the electronics and sensors

    • Integrated digital tamper sensor to alert staff if anyone touches the system

      • You will receive an e-mail and/or text notifying you of tamper.

      • If you have the App and/or Web console, you will also receive an alert and it will be recorded.

      • There is a time stamp on this notification so even if you miss them tampering, you can follow up by cross examining the camera with the system time stamps.

      • The sensitivity of this tamper sensor can be adjusted by the user

      • There is an Audible alarm integrated with the system that can be turned on and off via the app. It is defaulted to alarm for 10 seconds.

        • We recommend keeping the audible tamper alarm on at all times

  • Tamper screws

    • We utilize tamper proof screws to attach the system to the wall or ceiling.

  • Optional Wire Cage for additional protection

    • This is an option that some schools utilize as it provides an outer shell of wire to provide additional protection.

How do I set up & install the Zeptive Vape Sensor?
  • The physical DIY installation is typically 10 - 15 minutes (No need to run cables or hire outside help)

    • Decide where to place your sensor, factors to consider:

      • As close to the vape as possible, but in a high enough and central location to maximize vape detection area while also minimizing risk of tamper by students

      • If you know where the students are vaping – placing sensor directly above them on the ceiling or on the wall near them to maximize detection

      • Ideally no higher than 8 ft as the higher you place the system the longer the diffusion will take

      • If using Wi-Fi or Cellular, ensure you have both a consistent and strong signal

      • Attach the Zeptive Vape Sensor with the hardware provided

      • You are now ready to control your system from the App and Web Console

Can I upgrade my Zeptive Vape Sensor with new SW & HW when available?
  • Hardware

    • Yes, but depending on the hardware change, you may need to return your unit back to the factory to perform the work.

  • Software

    • Yes, typically can be upgraded remotely

We may not be able to respond in time to catch the students, how does your system support this?
  • Response time can be a real challenge for staff. We do offer the following capabilities to help address this:

    • Each alarm, whether it is a vape alarm or tamper alarm is recorded in the App and Web Console and there is a time stamp recorded. Thus, if you can’t respond in time you can cross examine your cameras with your timestamp to see student restroom entry and exits.

    • The App and Web Console also track your vape alarm data over time. This enables staff to identify patterns and can then position themselves at the restrooms at those times. For example, you may see over time that every morning before class at 7:10am there is a lot of vaping in the boy’s restroom on the 2nd floor near the library. This information enables staff to plan accordingly.

    • It is extremely challenging to reduce student vaping and unfortunately detectors by themselves cannot solve the vaping epidemic, but they can help provide a deterrent and also detection that provides insight to the problem such as where and when vaping is happening.

    • Some schools approach is to focus on providing sensors for a few restrooms and really focusing on reducing vaping in those restrooms so that students who wish to use a vape free restroom have a place to go.

General Questions

Ease of Install and Use

How is it installed?

There is a pre-installation meeting with the customer's account manager that:

  • Reviews the places the units will be installed, including a virtual walk-around

  • Discusses the desired type of installation: WiFi, Cellular, or Wired

  • Reviews the physical structure of the building(s)

  • Reviews the organizational structure to ID the people who will receive system alerts (vape, battery, and/or tamper)

After the meeting:

  • The customer receives units in a box by UPS/Fedex.

  • The units are ready to be placed on the wall, and have been pre-configured for the customer’s WiFi or cell service, in locations already determined in the pre-installation meeting.

  • The customer then drills holes in the wall with our provided template and attaches them to the wall.

  • At that point the units begin learning and calibrating to the ambient environment

  • In a few days, the systems are ready for active use.

How long does it take to install?

Less than 5 minutes per unit (if they have the right tools like a drill and bits). All hardware is provided.

How many people / what level of technical expertise is required for installation?
  1. Hardware: Regular maintenance staff. No special skills required.

  2. Software: Any administrator can use the portal or apps.

  3. Connection to WiFi: IT staff (if the units are not pre-configured by Zeptive)

How is it maintained and monitored?
  • In our standard product, the units are powered by a rechargeable battery. When it is time for the batteries to be replaced, the customer receives a low-battery alert by text message or on their app.

  • The maintenance staff then removes the discharged battery, and replaces it with a charged standby battery. It is a very easy process and takes only a few minutes.

  • The sensors have a 8-year lifetime

  • The system’s software and device updates automatically

  • There is a sensor on each device that can tell if someone has tampered with the unit, i.e. touched it.

  • If there is a vape or tamper alert, the system can optionally sound a piercing audible alarm if configured for this mode.

  • If there is a vape or tamper alert, the customer can also receive alerts on their phone with a text message, email, or alert on their computer.

  • The people who receive alerts, the type of alerts they receive, and pausing alerts are all included with the product.

Why / How is it easy to use?

Ease of installation:

  • Appropriate mounting hardware chosen for sheetrock, cement, wood, and drop-ceilings balances fixture strength and damage to underlying surface.

  • The units are either 1)preconfigured for the school WiFi or 2)WiFi onboarding app exists and is easy to use.

  • Systems are attached to the wall with tamper-proof screws

  • The software is set up to match the physical and organization structure of the school. System setting updates may be done at any level, i.e. for just one device, or for the entire school.

The units are highly resistant to tampering or disablement. Plus there is an optional wire cage available for the unit.

It is easy to move units from one location to another, or even to different buildings, if desired

How many do you need in each room?

Between 1 and 3 unit per room, although it depends on size and configuration of the room.

How much space does it cover per room?

Each detector covers about a 12 x 12 foot area. More detectors = faster response time.

Ease of Install and Use

Cost of Not Using Vape Detection

What are the costs of not using vape detection?
  • Teachers and administrators use their valuable time to address vaping issues.

  • Not a $ cost, but schools, PTOs, local, and state health departments cannot be viewed as condoning student drug use.

  • Not a $ cost but schools cannot be viewed as creating an environment that does not taking mental health seriously. Students who vape have poorer mental health, either as a result of vaping, or because vaping indicates they are self-medicating for a mental health condition.

  • Vaping devices are often flushed down the toilet and can cause plumbing damage

  • Littered vape cartridges and disposables create a significant grounds maintenance problem for all schools.

What can be prevented or minimized?
  • Avoid student attention problems. Avoid behavioral and addiction challenges.

  • Avoid lower test scores.

  • Prevent higher use of Nicotine and THC in the school setting → Lower test scores

  • Avoid Pressure to vape and use of other substances in the school setting

  • Avoid having dealers on school grounds, who sell THC and nicotine vape pens, and other substances.

  • Reduce exposing teens to other substances. The evidence shows that teens who vape are also using alcohol, cannabis, and other drugs at a much higher rate.

  • Lung (pulmonary) health is reduced with vaping. New published research shows that long term health effects may be no different than smoking.

What else?
  • In addition to finding students who are vaping, installing these units sends a very strong message to the student body.

  • It gives the administration a strong inflection point to discuss this problem with students and bring it to the forefront.

  • Installing units in even just one restroom can have profound effects in the school. By creating a vape-free restroom, it creates a safe space for students to use the restroom, who would otherwise avoid using the restroom altogether.

Cost of Not Using Vape Detection

Public Health

What are people concerned about? Why is vaping an issue?

Three things people are most concerned about are:

  1. The long term effects of e-cigarette use are still unknown and may be very negative

  2. High-potency cannabis use has important effects on brain development and school performance

  3. Nicotine addiction is a real burden on teens who otherwise might not have been exposed to this substance.

The current research supports that:

  1. Anti-tobacco policies can be highly effective

  2. Vape aerosol contains many compounds and particulates

  3. Teen e-cigarette users are likely to use other substances, particularly THC (ie. cannabis marijuana)

Lung Problem Stats

Vaping is new, so there isn’t a lot of data available on how typical vaping effects the lungs, except as related to the 2019 E/VALI crisis. However, some great research is starting to be published including:

A recent (April 2020) academic article in the Journal of General Internal Medicine states that:

  1. There is substantial evidence that electronic cigarettes (with and without THC use) can lead to lung disease

  2. There is also substantial evidence that electronic cigarette use may lead to oxidative and inflammatory damage to the lungs.

  3. Electronic cigarette vapor is also known to contain heavy metals, dangerous low molecular weight carbonyl compounds, and dangerous flavoring chemicals.

  4. Traditional cigarette smoke contains over 7000 chemicals, with over 70 of them known to be carcinogens, but current research suggests that the toxicity profile of electronic cigarettes and traditional cigarettes is actually quite similar.

  5. Electronic cigarettes are a fast-growing industry, becoming more popular and more accessible to both youth and adults.

Another recent article (Apr 2020) in the journal Toxics states that:

  1. The potential toxicants of THC cartridges include solvent-based volatile (e.g., butane) and semi-volatile (e.g., decane, naphthalene) hydrocarbons, silicon conjugated compounds, various terpenes, pesticides/plasticizers/polycaprolactones and metals.

  2. Inhaling these chemicals at sufficient concentration is known to cause symptoms, such as a cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea fatigue, fever, or weight loss, consistent with that seen in patients with EVALI (i.e. severe lung illness).

School Performance Stats

Again, hard stats are few and far between because vaping is so new. However, there is a growing body of research:

Specifically: Students who vape are much more likely to use other drugs.

In the Journal of Nicotine and Tobacco Research (2020) a study by Gilbert, Kava, and Afifi found that 93% of current e-cigarette users have used other substances (i.e. tobacco, alcohol, or cannabis) in the past 30-days. Half of them used alcohol or cannabis.

In an another recent JAMA Pediatrics Article, doctors (N. Chadi) at Children’s Hospital in Boston concluded:

  1. Vaping of a nicotine product is significantly associated with use of at least 1 other addictive psychoactive substance: marijuana.

  2. These findings highlight the importance of addressing the rapid increases in e-cigarette use among youths as a means to help limit marijuana use in this population.

In a recent (June 2019) study in the Journal Birth Defects Research, they found that:

  1. We have evidence to suggest recency, frequency, and age of onset of cannabis are likely key variables in predicting not only poor neural health and cognitive functioning, but emotional functioning as well (e.g., depression)

In March 2020 a new article from Harvard McLean hospital found that:

  1. Those who use cannabis before age 16 may have permanent brain effects. Specifically:

  2. Those who used cannabis before age 16 demonstrated residual driving impairment in non-intoxicated cannabis users, which appears specific to those with early onset cannabis use.

A very well known article from 2012 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that heavy adolescent marijuana users lost 8 points in their IQ from childhood to adulthood:

  1. When their adult IQ was tested at 38 years old, the heaviest and most persistent adolescent-onset users in the study had experienced an average decline of eight IQ points from childhood to adulthood. Non-users had on average increased their IQ by around one point. And even after setting aside the heaviest users, a decline of a few IQ points from their childhood value was still seen in less heavy users who had started in their teens. What's more, the drop in mental function seemed irreversible even after people had quit cannabis. However, persistent users who only started when adult (older than 18 years) did not seem to experience the same IQ decline.

Effects on others in the building?

There is well documented information about the particulates found in vape and the effect they may have on others, i.e. "2nd hand vape"


For example: In the Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology, they found the level of particulates were 12-times higher than the permissible EPA levels, in a room full of people who were vaping.

What else?
  • Overall, school administrators tell us they do not want to return to the days of smoking like it was in the 80’s and 90’s. Yet currently about ¼ of high-school seniors have vaped in the past month.

  • They don’t want the new era of nicotine addiction to happen on their watch.

Public Health
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