Today the U.S. government issued a final rule on the use of electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes on domestic and foreign airlines flying into or out of the United States. They decided that they will be completely banned.
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"This final rule is important because it protects airline passengers from unwanted exposure to aerosol fumes that occur when electronic cigarettes are used onboard airplanes," Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement.
The department has long outlawed smoking and tobacco products on plains, but many people still smoked the e-cigarette versions. The regulations today were to eliminate any confusion about whether or not the ban on all tobacco products would include e-cigarettes.
The decision means that people can bring e-cigarettes onto planes, but cannot charge them. Cigarettes are not allowed in checked baggage, and the same goes for e-cigarettes. They have to be in a carry on, according to a regulation from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, which is part of the Transportation Department.
According to the Chicago Tribune, there have been times when e-cigarettes have set suitcases on fire, including a Hawaiian Airlines plane that was forced to land after one set off the plane's fire-suppression system.
E-cigarettes are powered by lithium batteries which have a tendency to self-ignite if they are damaged, exposed to excessive temperatures, or have a defect. Fire officials are unable to determine the start of the fire, so they are banning them completely.
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While there was an attempt in the House transportation committee last month to allow the use of e-cigarettes on planes, but it was defeated.