Photo (cc) by jonnwilliams
Smoking traditional cigarettes or other tobacco products has long been prohibited on airplanes. In recent years, some smokers were able to get a quick in-flight nicotine fix using an e-cigarette. But that will change come April.
The U.S. Department of Transportation announced that it has issued final regulations banning the use of e-cigs on commercial flights within, to and from the U.S. Although the DOT considered its current smoking ban to include e-cigarettes — devices that vaporize nicotine-based liquids — some advocates of e-cigs argued that they were not explicitly prohibited.
The rule, which will be published in the Federal Register, goes into effect on April 3.
“This final rule is important because it protects airline passengers from unwanted exposure to aerosol fumes that occur when electronic cigarettes are used onboard airplanes,” Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement. “The Department took a practical approach to eliminate any confusion between tobacco cigarettes and e-cigarettes by applying the same restrictions to both.”
The DOT said the ban includes e-cigs in all forms, including “electronic cigars, pipes and devices designed to look like everyday products like pens.”
Airline passengers are allowed to carry e-cigs on planes, but they’re prohibited from charging them on the plane. They’re also not allowed to transport battery-powered e-cigs in checked baggage for fear of the batteries sparking a fire.
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