The US Department of Transportation has had it with e-cigarettes and vapes on America’s commercial aircraft.
On Wednesday, the government agency announced that e-cigarette use is now explicitly banned on all commercial flights going into, out of, and within the United States. Seriously! Just now this is a rule. The decision has been in the works for a while — it was first introduced in 2011 — and has gone through a few stages, including an “interim final rule” in October 2015. Today, however, it became a “final rule”, which leaves us wondering if we should maybe buy it a graduation present, or something?
In any case, e-cigs got the axe because of their potential health risks. “Electronic cigarettes cause concern because studies have shown that e-cigarette aerosol can contain a number of harmful chemicals”, the agency said in a statement that will all but surely enrage e-cigarette truthers. “While further study is needed to fully understand the risks, the Department believes that a precautionary approach is best.” The ruling now effectively places cigarettes and e-cigarettes in the same category as far as use on flights is concerned.
According to the Washington Post, prior to today’s ruling, passengers were able to bring their e-cigs onboard but not in their checked luggage. There was apparently some confusion over whether passengers could actually use their e-cigs while on the plane, but today’s announcement swiftly cleared confusion.
While vaporisers weren’t explicitly mentioned, the text of the ruling makes it pretty clear that vaping of any kind — except where medical devices are concerned — is a no-no (emphasis ours):
Smoking means the use of a tobacco product, electronic cigarettes whether or not they are a tobacco product, or similar products that produce a smoke, mist, vapor, or aerosol, with the exception of products (other than electronic cigarettes) which meet the definition of a medical device in section 201(h) of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, such as nebulizers.