Flying lessons for electronic cigarette users

by Bert Maxwell /
Bert Maxwell's picture
Jul 17, 2014 / 0 comments

Using electronic cigarettes, or vaping as it is commonly known, is becoming something more people are doing all the time (CHECK THIS YOUTUBE PROFILE OF DAVINCIVAPORIZER.COM to learn more about those portable vaporizers).

Whether it is as part of an effort to quit smoking altogether or an attempt to find healthier ways to get a nicotine hit, there is no getting away from the fact that e-cigs are here to stay.

In the UK, more than two million people now use the devices and there are even dedicated cafes opening alongside the already proliferating shops catering to a vaper’s every need.

However, with anti-smoking laws now common in a wide range of countries travellers who want to use electronic cigarettes can find the situation confusing where it comes to where and when they can indulge.


USA air travel

In the USA it isn't a clear cut issue for flyers as major airports are divided on whether or not people can use them inside their terminals. Passengers are banned from using electronic cigarettes on flights themselves, but loopholes in federal regulations mean that on the ground usage differs from place to place.

At present state and local laws dictate how airports govern their use. Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, Las Vegas' McCarran International Airport and Charlotte Douglas International Airport all allow the use of e-cigarettes like Vapestick Max kits indoors.

San Francisco International Airport, Philadelphia International Airport, Los Angeles International Airport, and Chicago's airports all take the same line as they do with more traditional cigarettes and ban the use of e-cigs inside their terminals aside from in the -designated smoking areas.

New York City's airports, LaGuardia International and John F. Kennedy International, make matters even more complicated by banning and allowing vaping depending on which terminal you find yourself in.

The lesson here is that if you want to use an e-cig whilst waiting to board a plane in the USA, you need to pay careful attention to the local regulations in place.


UK air travel

Heathrow opened the world’s first airport electronic-cigarette zone when electronic cigarette manufacturer Gamucci unveiled a 30 square metre 'vaping zone' in Terminal 4's International Departures Lounge.

However, its official line is that "electronic cigarettes are subject to the same restrictions as standard cigarettes and therefore cannot be used inside terminal buildings, except in the designated e-cigarette lounge in Terminal 4."

At Gatwick airport the smoking of e-cigs is not permitted anywhere in the terminal buildings.

In fact, the smoking ban relating to public places in the UK under the Health Act 2006 expressly defines “smoking” as referring to

(a) smoking tobacco or anything which contains tobacco, or smoking any other substance,
(b) smoking includes being in possession of lit tobacco or of anything lit which contains tobacco, or being in possession of any other lit substance in a form in which it could be smoked.

Because e-cigarettes don't actually burn anything but simply vapourise a liquid containing nicotine (hence the 'vape' tag), they really don't fall under the 2006 Act at all.


Liquid restrictions

Of course there are restrictions in place for air travellers regarding liquids, so this is another area that electronic cigarette users need to take care with.

However, in the EU containers of up to 100ml are allowed as long as they are presented clearly at security checks for carry-on luggage. Liquids in containers larger than 100ml generally can’t go through security even if the container is only part full.

Outside the EU, different countries may have their own rules about carrying liquids as a transit or transfer passenger, so you should check these rules with the airlines and airports you are intending to use on your journey.


Future travelling

Sadly, time travel isn't available at the moment so it is hard to say what the future holds for e cigarettes and their users.

As user numbers grow, there is bound to be consumer pressure applied to airlines, train operators, and bus companies to allow this smoke-free activity to take place. As one of the main argument for banning smoking in public was the danger of 'secondary smoking', i.e., inhaling other people's smoke, the fact that e-cigs mainly produce water vapour may be the reason they win out over traditional cigarettes in the long run.