According to CNN, the Department of Transportation is proposing to ban electronic cigarette use aboard aircraft. As expected, this is not good news for vapers who are used to smoking their e-cigs where ever they please.
The popularity of e-cigarettes is growing rapidly, and it is even predicted that sales will surpass those of traditional cigarettes in the coming decades. Health wise, this is great to know because e-cigarettes pose far less of a threat than tobacco-filled traditional cigarettes.
However, anti-tobacco campaigners are increasingly pushing for strict rules against e-cigarette use, perversely threatening advances in public health. This is fairly frustrating as vaporizers do not produce the harmful emissions which cigarettes produce. There is no evidence of harmful second hand smoke being produced by e-cigarettes.
According to Dr. Joel Nitzkin, a former co-chair of the Tobacco Control Task Force of the American Association of Public Health Physicians, "[T]here is no public health justification for banning e-cigarette use in no-smoking areas."
There is now a risk of these anti-tobacco activists convincing the public that e-cigarettes pose the same risks as regular tobacco cigarettes. This is simply not true as e-cigarettes do not contain tobacco and other harmful substances.
Airlines should be free to ban e-cigarettes aboard their aircraft if they so choose, but just like the use of cell phones on planes (or a passenger's odoriferous perfume, for that matter), the risks posed by e-cigarettes do not justify federal regulation.
It has been reported than in 2011, the Department of Transportation initiated a regulatory proceeding to reinterpret "smoke" and "smoking," in order to extend the existing federal ban on in-flight smoking to e-cigarettes. Now years delayed, the department quietly indicated in mid-January that it plans to finally issue a rule by the end of April to prohibit e-cigarette use aboard aircraft. Such an action runs counter to congressional intent and constitutes an illegal expansion of regulatory power.
The Department of Transportation laid down a law which was intended to address the issue of second hand smoke in an aircraft, and the department concedes "a vapor, rather than smoke, is produced." The Department of Transportation justifies this by simply noting, that e-cigarettes "require an inhalation and exhalation similar to smoking cigarettes."
This decision is therefore hugely contradictory and for this reason there is a lot of uproar. The decision reportedly has “far more to do with pushing a nanny-state agenda than promoting illusory public health benefits”.