On Monday, the United States Department of Transportation announced that all electronic cigarettes are now banned in checked baggage on commercial flights. While passengers were previously allowed to bring their ecigs in checked bags, the risk of fire from improperly stored batteries is causing the DOT to change their policy.
“Transportation of battery-powered devices that are likely to create sparks or generate a dangerous evolution of heat is prohibited unless they are packaged in such a manner to preclude such an occurrence,” the DOT explained.
While the new rules might cause some frustration among vapers that are frequent flyers, the good news is that you can still take your ecig on a plane. You just have to keep it in your pocket or carry-on bag. This is exactly the opposite of rules that the Transportation Security Administration has implemented for other controversial products like firearms, which must be checked and cannot be carried on.
When the DOT revealed the new ecig policy, they cited two incidents that occurred over the past year and a half where an ecig caught on fire inside a bag. The first was on August 9, 2014 at Boston’s Logan Airport. The bag was in the cargo area of the plane when the ecig sparked a fire and the plane had to be evacuated. Then on January 4, 2015, another checked bag sparked a blaze in the baggage area at Los Angeles International Airport.
The DOT said that the batteries are posing enough threat to warrant a change in policy. “These incidents – and several others occurring outside of air transportation – have shown that e-cigarettes can overheat and cause fires when the heating element is accidentally activated or left on.”
Do you think this is a smart rule to protect passengers or is this just another way for government organizations to demonize electronic cigarettes? Is there a better solution to this problem than to ban ecigs on checked bags altogether?