Can I fly with my electronic cigarette?
Date Posted: January 26, 2012
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Can I fly with my electronic cigarette? This is a common question. According to the Official TSA Blog, You can travel on a plane with your electronic cigarette, but just like tobacco cigarettes, you may not use your electronic cigarette aboard any US commercial airliner, whether on the tarmac or during the flight. Airline companies may have their own regulations regarding how you may travel with your e-cig; some may not allow you to stow it in your checked luggage. It is always best to refer to the list prohibited items which is specific to the airline with which you’re flying. Charter flights operate under a different set of rules than commercial airlines and may allow the use of e-cigarettes.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) says travelers can pass through airport security with e-cigarettes without restriction. To avoid any issues and / or delays when going through security, it is preferable to place your e-cig inside a carry on. The battery will show on the screens of x-rays and metal detectors at security checkpoints because it is made of aluminum and has a cylinder-like shape; you may or may not be asked to show it for security reasons. You can pack your e-cig items in checked luggage; however, it is both safer and more practical to keep your e-cig in a carry on. In the event your checked luggage goes through further security checks while not in your possession, you run the risk having items confiscated should you not be around to answer questions.
To completely avoid any interaction with TSA officers, it is best to separate the battery from the cartridge and run it through the x-ray with all other small metal objects in your possession and/or inside your pockets. When boarding the plane, you should keep your e-cig inside your carry-on. While e-cigarette vapor does not set off smoke alarms, their use is still forbidden in both the cabin and lavatories. Those found in violation of the no-smoking rules may face mandatory fines, imprisonment and /or be escorted off the plane if still on the ground.
Unless otherwise noted, the use of e-cigarettes is allowed inside most airports. Regulations may vary from one airport to another; however, the use of e-cigs is permitted both prior to boarding as well as after landing at most US airports. Currently, the TSA does not have any blanket ban policy in effect for e-cigarette use inside airports.
While individual airlines, e.g. American Airlines or Jet Blue, have banned the use of electronic cigarettes aboard their flights since February 2011, the US Department of Transportation (DOT) has proposed to explicitly ban the use of the devices on all commercial airplanes. DOT believes its current ban on smoking of tobacco products is broad enough to include electronic cigarettes but wants to eliminate any confusion.
The “No Smoking” rule in airplanes has been keeping cabins smoke-free since 1998. Although electronic cigarettes do not give off smoke, they are still a cause of concern and confusion for some passengers. Therefore, the DOT issued an e-cigarette ban proposal in September 2011 and public comments were accepted until November 2011. Voting on the proposed ban is expected to take place in the upcoming months but no date has been set so far.
The DOT’s proposed rule would apply to all US and foreign airlines on scheduled flights to and from the United States and officials are considering extending the ban on smoking to charter flights. Some non-US airlines permit and even sell e-cigarettes onboard, such as famous European low-cost airline Ryan Air.
So remember, traveling with your e-cigarette is allowed, but just like traditional cigarettes, its use aboard commercial aircrafts is strictly forbidden.