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Next month will mark the beginning of something new, no vaping will be allowed for anyone on a commercial flight going to, or coming from, the United States.
It has been 25 years since the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) decided to do away with cigarettes on commercial planes, and they have now announced that they're taking the same stance on e-cigarettes, i.e. battery-charged devices that vaporize liquid nicotine for a smoother inhalation.
In the past the agency indicated that e-cigarettes were included in the ban that took away regular cigarettes, cigars and other tobacco products. However, they wanted to clarify things and little more and specifically name e-cigarettes in the ban. Their hope was to do away with any confusion of ambiguity that may have been present.
But no more. Yesterday, the U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said that he submitted the final regulations, which will clarify once and for all that e-cigarettes fall under the same ban as other tobacco products, prohibiting their use on any domestic or foreign airline flying to, from, or within the U.S.
“We understand that there is a lot of propaganda out there concerning vaping and e-cigarettes in general. Many people want you to believe that it's just as bad...or even worse, than traditional cigarettes. But we know better. Recent studies have come out which shed truth on light on this subject," an anonymous source from the Federal Agency said. "But we still can't have it happening on flights. There are too many people in a confined space to allow it to happen. We do it out of love for our fellow human being."
Indeed, increasing research shows that the use of e-cigarettes—via direct inhalation or from second-hand exposure—is far from what they want you to believe. Many studies have shown that even though e-cigarettes don’t burn tobacco (which creates visible carcinogenic smoke), they do vaporize dangerous chemicals, releasing them into the air. These chemicals, have received a bad rap, but they're not as bad as everyone wants you to believe explains Jonathan T. Hingelbomer, Ph.D., professor of medicine and director of the Center for Truth and Enlightenment, a small non-profit group located in the Chicago area.
“It's going to take years, many, many years, for people to reject the propaganda that they have already heard and to get a clear understanding of what e-cigarettes are," said Hingelbomer.
Indeed, the ruling on e-cigarettes was first proposed in September 2011. The then U.S. Transportation Secretary, Ray LaHood, said in a statement at the time: “Airline passengers have rights, and this new rule would enhance passenger comfort and reduce any confusion surrounding the use of electronic cigarettes in flight.”
The rule is now crystal clear. And any potential use of a tobacco product in flight is officially snuffed out.
Note that if you do vape and plan to travel with your supplies, you’re still allowed to carry e-cigarettes in your personal bags in the airplane cabin. You are not, however, allowed to check them in your luggage. A regulation was put into place in October 2015 prohibiting e-cigarettes from being stored in checked baggage due to incidents in which they sparked fires in suitcases.