Everything You Need to Know about Using Electronic Cigarettes on Board

E-cigarette ads promise the freedom to enjoy smoking virtually anywhere … on a plane … during 9-, 12-, 14-hour flight … even TSA allows a vapor in the carry- on (as long as you follow certain recommendations) … and rumor has it carriers even sell them on board … like no more shaky feet 3 hours before landing … like smoker’s Heaven on Earth …

It gets even better … there are no official rules for using e-cigarettes on board of commercial aircraft. The Transportation Security Administration has not officially outlawed their use.  At present TSA is drafting a ban, which should be released in mid-2014. Since there are no official rules, the organization suggests checking with the carrier for its policy on e-cigarettes.

The International Air Transport Association recommends that all aircraft prohibit the use of electronic cigarettes: “Electronic, simulated smoking materials (cigarettes, pipes, cigars) should be prohibited from use by both passengers and crew at all times. Operators should not permit the use of any item which could insinuate that smoking is permitted on board aircraft. Permitting the use of these devices on board could result in passengers attempting to smoke real cigarettes (or other smoking products) and/or increased unruly/disruptive passenger events.” IATA agrees that e-cigarettes can be carried on, but they should remain stowed at all times and unused in the passenger’s carry-on baggage.

So it is up to the carriers and the commercial ones all say NO!!! A survey among the leading U.S. and European carriers revealed that you must remain cold turkey through the entire flight. US Airways, Delta, Lufthansa, Air France, AlItalia, KLM, as well as Bulgaria Air said NO to using e-cigarettes during the flight. “In fact, the vapor that comes out of the device can set off the smoke detectors”, explained Air France. Even the lavatories are off limits. Keep in mind that tampering with the lavatory smoke detectors is a felony that would lead to fines and prison time.

Bottom line is the no smoking signs on board apply to both conventional cigarettes as well as electronic ones, unless you are flying with a private charter.

Smoking on all commercial flights is forbidden

Wizz Air, the European low-cost carrier recommended trying nicotine gums instead, although I am sure many smokers are already aware of this option. Blogs are overflowing with ideas how to deal with nicotine hunger during a flight – chew tobacco, ask doctor for nicotine prescription or anything else that does not emit smoke.

Recommendations for flying with electronic cigarette:

–          Separate the components and place the charger and any cords and battery with your other electronic devices. If the electronic cigarette is powered by lithium batteries, IATA requires any lithium batteries to be packed in the carry-on baggage, because they are considered a fire hazard.

–          Place the liquid in 3oz liquids bag.

–          Place the e-cigarette tube in a clear bag as well.

FYI – If you are not sure what is allowed in your carry-on bag, you can download the myTSA app and find the answer.

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