Electronic cigarettes, or e-cigs, have resided in a sort of grey area that was very dependent on the the rules of each individual airline. Today, the Department of Transportation (DOT) put that to rest by explicitly banning vaping on commercial flights.
Previously, the department claimed that its “ban on smoking of tobacco” to be sufficiently broad enough to cover the use of e-cigs, but the word “smoking” may have actually provided the loophole. Any e-cig user will tell you that while vaping, you’re not releasing smoke, but a mixture of scented vapor and taste-related additives.
That said, the jury is still out on whether this is harmful to users or those inhaling this vapor second hand. There have been a handful of studies, but the results of these are so varied that you don’t have much of a choice but to slot them into the inconclusive category.
Of course, the need for this ban is lost on me. As someone who flies regularly, I’ve never been on a flight where I’ve seen someone vaping.
But, regardless of need, now we have the official word: no vaping on flights.