E-cigarettes were banned in-flight in March 2016 by the US Department of Transportation (DOT). “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. The Department took a practical approach to eliminate any confusion between tobacco cigarettes and e-cigarettes by applying the same restrictions to both.” said the DOT when announcing the ban.
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The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), and the Consumer Advocates for Smoke-Free Alternatives Association (CASAA), sued the department over this regulation saying that although the DOT has the authority to prohibit smoking, that right does not extend to vaping, since the devices emit no smoke.
“Congress never gave regulators the power to prohibit e-cigarette use aboard aircraft,” said Marc Scribner, a fellow at CEI last year. “The Department of Transportation is inventing authority it clearly does not have. Anyone concerned about government overreach should be worried by this abuse of power.”
In response to the latest turn of events, the CEI’s general counsel sam Kazman, said that upholding the ban “creates a dangerous new rule for interpreting the law,” adding, “It allows the commonly understood language of Congress’s 30-year-old no-smoking statute to be stretched in a ban on e-cigarettes—even though e-cigarettes involve no combustion and produce no smoke.”
E-cigarettes should be regulated as smoking cessation tools
Public Health experts keep pointing out that putting e-cigarettes and combustible cigarettes on the same shelf and regulating them in the same way will be detrimental to public health. Compelling data from the UK where vaping products have been endorsed for smoking cessation, suggests that the products are amongst the most effective cessation aides to date.
More info : ARS Technica