It’s one of the most important questions for vapers keen to take their e-cigarette with them when they travel abroad: can you vape on a plane? As a general rule the answer is no you can’t. Regulations on the use of e-cigarettes on planes vary from country to country, and those regulations are changing rapidly, so it’s difficult to give a firm yes or no. But to play it safe, you should assume that you can’t vape when flying anywhere.
This is because planes are seen in the same way any confined public area is seen. When someone is vaping in a small, densely populated space, it’s difficult for those who don’t want to be exposed to vapour to avoid it, so by and large such places ban, or put firm restrictions on, vaping. Moreover, vaping represents a potential safety risk in planes as some devices that produce a lot of vapour could set off smoke alarms located in the on-board lavatories.
The most significant exception is RyanAir, which allows vaping on its planes only when the device used is smokeless. It’s important to note, however, that you can’t use your own smokeless e-cigarette; instead you have to buy one on board from a member of staff and use that. A spokesperson for the company explained: “As these cigarettes are smokeless, they cause no discomfort to other passengers and can ensure a more enjoyable and stress-free flight for all passengers.”
The rules are slightly different for travelling with (but not using in-flight) a vaping device, which generally is permitted, but only under certain restrictions. Security at airports and on planes is so stringent that all electronic devices are subject to security screening before they’re allowed on board. Regulations vary from country to country, but in 2014, the UK introduced additional security checks on electronic goods stating that all devices must be charged enough to be switched on. Those in possession of a device that can’t be switched on “won’t be allowed to take it onto the aircraft.” E-cigarettes are not exempt from this ruling.
Meanwhile, in 2015, the United States Department of Transport issued new flight safety rules for e-cigarettes explicitly stating that the devices are prohibited in checked baggage. “We know from recent incidents that e-cigarettes in checked bags can catch fire during transport,” a statement explained. “Fire hazards in flight are particularly dangerous. Banning e-cigarettes from checked bags is a prudent safety measure.” This ban, however, does not extend to having e-cigarettes in carry-on baggage, which is allowed, but a further statement in March 2016 “explicitly banned” actually using electronic cigarettes on planes.
With regulations always in flux, caution is the best advice. If you’re unsure on the rules the airline you’re flying with or the airport you’re flying from uses, it’s best to enquire and gain clarity from a member of staff. Or, to be completely safe, use a disposable e-cigarette and vape and dispose of it before you go into the airport.
Image Source: Wikipedia (Creative Commons)