Seems you can’t really go anywhere these days without running into e-cigarettes and the “vapers” who love them. And, to be sure, the steam that’s emitted from these electronic vaping devices is MUCH preferred to the smoke from regular cigarettes. But, who knew e-cigarettes could actually catch fire — spontaneously? I know I didn’t!
That is, until I read a recent headline in the Maui News that read, “E-Cigarette Causes Emergency Landing.” What the WHAT?
Turns out, last Tuesday, a Hawaiian Airlines plane was in route to Maui from Oahu when an e-cigarette started a fire within the baggage area of the plane. Fortunately, the pilot was able to extinguish the flame using a fire extinguisher, and there were no injuries or damages. But, it did warrant a reminder to all our readers: You can’t store e-cigarettes in checked luggage to Hawaii. Or anywhere, for that matter.
Here’s a breakdown of what, exactly, is banned:
According to the U.S. Dept. of Transportation, the law prohibits “passengers and crewmembers from carrying battery-powered portable electronic smoking devices (e.g. e-cigarettes, e-cigs, e-cigars, e-pipes, personal vaporizers, electronic nicotine delivery systems) in checked baggage and prohibit passengers and crewmembers from charging the devices and/or batteries on board the aircraft.”
And, just to clarify, the DOT defines an e-cigarette as “a battery-powered device that simulates tobacco smoking by producing a heated vapor, which resembles smoke.”
Here’s the good news for vapers — You ARE allowed to continue to carry e-cigarettes for your own personal use in carry-on baggage, or on your person on the plane (in a pocket or whatever). But you can’t use them during the flight.
“We know from recent incidents that e-cigarettes in checked bags can catch fire during transport,” said Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Fire hazards in flight are particularly dangerous. Banning e-cigarettes from checked bags is a prudent safety measure.”
According to a U.S. Fire Administration report, more than two dozen e-cigarette-related explosions and fires that have taken place since 2009. Some of those combustible events involved e-cigarettes packed in checked luggage on airplanes.
And, even after landing in Hawaii, you should be careful where you vape. As of January 1, e-cigarettes were banned in all places where traditional smoking was already banned. This includes:
- Work and educational settings
- Restaurants and retail settings
- Hotels and multi-unit housing common areas
- Care and rehabilitation facilities including prisons
- Indoor and outdoor recreational settings
- Transportation related areas
That means, some of the places you may visit while in Hawaii, including State Parks, are e-cigarette-free. Keep that in mind when you book a tour in Hawaii, especially tours, such as the Circle Island Tour, during which you may stop at various State Parks on Oahu.
Now that vaping is fast-becoming the nicotine-delivery-system of choice, no doubt more rules and regulations will come into play. So, stay tuned — and vape safely!