It’s been a rollercoaster ride for the vaping industry this past month. We’ve witnessed a Republican Congressman vaping during a committee meeting on the topic of vaping on airplanes. A New York Judge from the Court of Appeals says, “Vaping is NOT smoking,” according to the state’s controversial Clean Air Act. And California even raised the legal smoking age to 21 while sneakily and simultaneously labeling vaping devices and e-cigs as “tobacco products.
Duncan Hunter Advocates for the Vaping Industry
But when the U.S. Department of Transportation made the official announcement on March 3, 2013, that vaping on airplanes is not considered an illegal act, the news still took many in the vaping community by surprise. As the video testimony of Rep. Duncan Hunter vaping in Congress went almost instantly viral, many assumed that the support from such a high-ranking official would be a valuable asset for vaping advocates. At the very least, many of us believed that the issue would, at least, warrant a more extensive investigation by government authorities. After all, “The Vaping Congressman” made some very compelling arguments.
DOT Hits Vapers Hard with Excessive Regulations
Sadly, just three short weeks after Hunter’s cloudchasing tirade on the House floor, the DOT dropped the hammer. Not only is vaping banned on airplanes, but travelers are not even allowed to carry e-cigs or vaping devices in checked baggage, which is essentially luggage that is held in the plane’s cargo area without access by the passengers. Is the DOT getting a bit overly paranoid? Many in the vaping community fear that this new series of government regulations is far too restrictive.
How could a vape pen stored underneath the plane be a threat to the onboard passengers? What makes this electronic device different from any other? According to the Federal Aviation Administration, e-cigs have been known to catch fire on occasion. So storing them “out of sight and out of mind” is not the safest method of transportation.
Carry-on baggage is okay, but checked baggage is not.
Strangely, the DOT does not have a problem with passengers carry e-cigs in their carry-on luggage, as long as no one pulls it out for any reason. We cannot vape with them nor can we recharge the unit during flight. According to the new ruling, the U.S. Department of Transportation is banning vaping on airplanes for all foreign and domestic flights involving “transportation in, to, and from the U.S.” in which a flight attendant is present.