Attention smokers: the US has banned the use of e-cigarettes on all flights that travel to and from the country on both domestic and foreign carriers beginning next month.
For smokers who counted on vaping during long-haul flights to assuage their withdrawal, that means you may have to stock up on nicotine patches or a whole lot of gum.
Though many airlines have been implementing their own policies regarding e-cigarettes, the ruling from the US Department of Transportation represents a wide-sweeping ban that applies not only to domestic airlines but also foreign carriers that travel to and from the US.
"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," said US Transportation secretary Anthony Foxx 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."
In their ruling, the department cited growing evidence that e-cigarette aerosol cans contain harmful chemicals that put vulnerable populations and flyers – children, elderly, passengers with respiratory issues – at risk in a confined space.
Last year, the International Civil Aviation Organization banned e-cigarettes in checked baggage, citing the potential for starting fires in the cargo hold.
The recharging of electronic smoking devices in aircraft cabins is also prohibited.
Likewise, earlier this month the ICAO added lithium-ion batteries to the list of forbidden items in the cargo hold of passenger aircrafts following fire hazard concerns.
Lithium-ion batteries are used in mobile phones and laptops and are rechargeable. – AFP/Relaxnews, March 4, 2016.