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U.S. Dept of Transportation issues final rule banning use of e-cigarettes on planes (press release USDOT)

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The U.S. Department of Transportation issued a final rule that bans the use of electronic smoking devices, except for medical devices like nebulizers. The ban applies to all scheduled flights of US and foreign carriers involving transportation in, to and from the US.  The rule also extends the ban on smoking, including e-cigs, to all charter (nonscheduled) flights on US carriers and foreign air carriers where a flight attendant is a required crew member.

The Department noted in its press release that this new final rule protects passengers from unwanted exposure to e-cigarette aerosol which “can contain a number of harmful chemicals…. The Department is particularly concerned that vulnerable populations (such as children, the elderly, and passengers with respiratory issues) would be exposed… without the opportunity to avoid the chemicals.”

This new rule follows the Department’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration’s October 2015 interim final rule that bans passengers from carrying battery-powered portable electronic smoking devices in checked baggage and banning them from charing the devices or batteries on board aircraft.

The definition of “smoking” was broadened to include electronic smoking devices. Read the Department’s full March 2, 2016 press release.