The Federal Government is proposing new regulations that would make it illegal to use electronic cigarettes on airplanes. This new measure is in wake to confusion and complaints from flight attendants and passengers about the legality of using electric cigarettes during a flight according to an LA Times article:
“Airline passengers have rights, and this new rule would enhance passenger comfort and reduce any confusion surrounding the use of electronic cigarettes in flight,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a statement Wednesday.
For years, flight attendants have spoken out against electronic cigarettes, saying passengers have confronted attendants over electronic cigarettes because some air travelers argue that the federal tobacco ban does not apply to electronic cigarettes.
The proposed ban on electronic cigarettes was blasted Wednesday by Ray Story, chief executive of the Tobacco Vapor Electronic Cigarette Assn., a Washington-based trade group that promotes the use of electronic cigarettes as an alternative to traditio
nal tobacco products.
Story said the vapor produced by an electronic cigarette would pose no danger to nearby passengers on a plane. He said the ban would relegate electronic cigarette smokers to airport smoking sections where they would be exposed to the proven harmful effects of traditional tobacco cigarettes.
“How do you ban a product from a plane when it doesn’t do anything?” Story said.
Under the federal rule-making process, the public has until Nov. 14 to submit comments on the proposed ban. People can file comments at http://www.regulations.gov. Once there, the public can comment by searching for the keywords “electronic cigarettes.”
Unfortunately this is another instance of the Federal Government attempting to regulate something without understanding if fully. The complaints about e-cigarettes stem mostly from a misunderstanding of current law. It would be wise of the government to educate people on e-cigarettes rather than banning the product outright on airplanes. With the history of the government and it’s regulations with tobacco products, it would be safe to assume that this would not only be a ban on airplanes, but many other places as well. Several countries have already banned e-cigarettes because they do contain nicotine; the primary additive in cigarettes that has been shown to cause addiction.
Second-hand smoke from electronic cigarettes is virtually non-existent due to the fact that water vapor is emitted rather than smoke. In many cases those who are around someone who is smoking an electronic cigarette cannot even tell. The Federal Government as well as several other private organizations are in the process and determining the direct and indirect health issues related to smoking electronic cigarettes. Any regulation or legislation at this point is premature.