US DOT bans use of e-cigarettes on airline flights
Mar 2, 2016 Aaron Karp
The US Department of Transportation (DOT) has explicitly banned the use of electronic cigarettes on all airline flights.
DOT’s final rule on e-cigarettes, which essentially extends the ban already in place for smoking tobacco aboard flights, applies to all US airline flights and all foreign carrier flights to/from the US. It also includes nonscheduled charter flights operated by US airlines or foreign airlines to/from the US on which a flight attendant is a required crewmember.
US transportation secretary Anthony Foxx said the ban protects passengers and flight crews “from unwanted exposure to aerosol fumes that occur when electronic cigarettes are used onboard airplanes.” He added that it was important to “eliminate any confusion between tobacco cigarettes and e-cigarettes by applying the same restrictions to both.”
In a statement, DOT said it was “particularly concerned that vulnerable populations (such as children, the elderly and passengers with respiratory issues) would be exposed to the aerosol within a confined space, without the opportunity to avoid the chemicals.” DOT said the rule “explicitly bans the use of electronic cigarettes in all forms, including but not limited to electronic cigars, pipes, and devices designed to look like everyday products such as pens.”
Beyond banning the active use of e-cigarettes on flights, DOT noted that the US Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration in October 2015 issued an interim final rule prohibiting battery-powered portable e-smoking devices from checked baggage. That rule, which is in line with ICAO recommendations, also prohibits airline passengers from charging e-cigarette devices during flights.
E-cigarette devices not actively being used or charged can continue to be brought on flights by passengers in carry-on baggage.