DOT Bans Transport of Electronic Cigarettes on Commercial Flights

airplaneThe U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) announced a final rule that bans the use and transport of electronic cigarettes on commercial flights. The ban applies to all U.S. and foreign airline carriers with scheduled flights into and out of the United States. When aviation accidents and injuries occur, a personal injury attorney can provide legal assistance for airline injury compensation.

In-flight Smoking

Today, virtually all U.S. airlines prohibit in-flight smoking to protect the health of passengers and prevent serious aviation accidents that result in airline injury compensation. The in-flight smoking timeline:

  • 1979 – Pipes and cigars were banned
  • 1981 – United Airlines implemented the first non-smoking section
  • 1988 – Smoking was banned on all domestic flights under two hours
  • 1990 – Smoking was banned on all domestic flights over six hours
  • 2000 – Smoking was banned on all flights between the U.S. and foreign destinations

In October, 2015, the U.S. DOT banned the use and transport of electronic cigarettes on all commercial flights to prevent fires and explosions resulting in airline injury compensation. To eliminate any confusion for passengers between e-cigarettes and tobacco cigarettes, the department’s final rule applied the same restrictions to both. This rule bans the use of all types of  electronic smoking devices, including devices designed to look like common products such as lighters, cigarette holders and pens. The ban does not include the use of medical devices like inhalers and nebulizers.

The Hazards of E-Cigarettes

Electronic cigarettes contain flavorings made from a number of harmful chemicals, including diacetyl, which has been associated with pulmonary lung disease. The U.S. DOT has expressed health concerns for flight attendants, pilots, and passengers exposed to e-cigarette vapors within a confined space, especially children, elderly passengers, and passengers who may have existing respiratory problems.

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has expressed numerous safety concerns regarding the transport of electronic smoking devices which have caused fires and explosions during flight. The October 2015 rule also includes a PHMSA rule that prohibits passengers and crew members from carrying portable, battery-powered, electronic smoking devices including e-cigarettes, e-cigars, e-pipes, e-hookahs, personal vaporizers, and electronic nicotine systems in checked baggage. Devices may still be transported in carry-on bags. The rule also prohibits passengers and crew members from charging electronic smoking devices or batteries on board the aircraft.