If you’re a frequent flier who’s relying on e-cigarettes to crack a serious smoking habit, it looks like you may have a problem.
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DoT) has just banned the use of the vaping device for all commercial flights “on U.S. and foreign carriers involving transportation in, to, and from the U.S.” The ban also covers all charter (nonscheduled) flights of U.S. and foreign carriers where a flight attendant is part of the crew.
Users can still carry it on board, but just can’t puff away on it.
While various studies examining the possible harmful effects of e-cigarettes continue to produce a range of results, the DoT says that until more is known about the subject, “a precautionary approach is best.”
It said it’s particularly concerned about “vulnerable populations,” among them children, the elderly, and passengers with respiratory problems. Along with other passengers, the DoT noted that such groups would be exposed to e-cigarette vapor in a confined space for many hours without any chance to avoid it.
“This final rule is important because it protects airline passengers from unwanted exposure to electronic cigarette aerosol that occurs when electronic cigarettes are used onboard airplanes,” Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a release.
The department added that although a rule already exists that prohibits the use of e-cigarettes on planes in the U.S., its wording wasn’t sufficiently clear and as a result had sometimes been misinterpreted. Wednesday’s announcement of a “final rule” was therefore made “to eliminate any confusion over whether its ban includes electronic cigarettes.”
Taking it from all sides just recently, the e-cigarette was also the subject of a checked-baggage ban imposed by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration last October. In light of the apparent lithium battery fire that caused an e-cigarette to explode in this man’s pocket last week, some passengers may be hoping for a cabin ban, too.