BANNED: Feds War On E-Cigarettes Hits Airline Passengers

E-cigarettes hang displayed in a tobacco shop in New York, June 23, 2015. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

E-cigarettes hang displayed in a tobacco shop in New York, June 23, 2015. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

The government banned e-cigarettes in checked luggage atairports, and vapers will no longer be allowed to charge theirdevices on the flight.

The U.S. Department ofTransportation (DOT) issued the interimfinal rule Monday and it will go into effect in twoweeks. The reasoning behind the ban is that batterypowered e-cigarettes can occasionally overheat or even explode andstart fires that pose a risk to passengers.

DOT used an example from Boston’s LoganAirport Aug. 9, 2014, when an e-cigarette in apassenger’s checked bag started a fire thatresulted in a plane’s evacuation to demonstrate the need forthe ban.

But there are relatively few similar incidents the departmentcan use to back up its case, with only 26 such incidents recordedin the past six years.

The new ban won’t cover passengers who put other devicescontaining batteries like laptops in their checked or carry-onbaggage. “We know from recentincidents that e-cigarettes in checked bags can catch fire duringtransport,†said Transportation Secretary AnthonyFoxx.

“Fire hazards in flight are particularlydangerous. Banning e-cigarettes from checked bags is a prudentsafety measure,†he added.

Passengers will still be allowed to carry e-cigarettes forpersonal use in carry-on baggage or on their person. Travelers andcrew members are not allowed to vape on flights. The ban is justthe latest in a series of government measures tightening theregulatory environment for e-cigarette users.

The National Park Service dealt a blow tovapers Sept. 15 with a ban on the use ofe-cigarettes wherever regular tobacco is banned in nationalparks. The new rule means e-cigs bans in parkvehicles and indoor sites such as buildings and caves and willapply to all 408 national parks.

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