Whether you’re a converted e-cigarette user or Samuel L. Jackson in need of a quick nicotine fix on a long-haul transatlantic flight, there are a few questions you should ask yourself before considering vaping on a plane. Yes, vaping has been on the rise these past few years. The range and availability of products has boomed beyond anyone’s wildest imagination. But the specific rules on how and where people can make use of their e-cigarettes have yet to be set in stone and fully understood.
In case you’re wondering, e-cigarettes are battery-operated devices that produce a flavored, heated vapor that can (but doesn’t have to) contain nicotine — a good example would be this model by CYNC. They simulate traditional smoking very well and have been adopted the world over to help quit smoking, but also purely as an enjoyable pastime.
So what are the vaping rules in the case of air travel? The annoying truth is that, with the FDA’s recent vaping crackdown last summer, the information you are reading online may no longer be up to date. In addition to that, the fact that several e-cigarettes contain a lithium battery poses yet another imponderable question. There have been several incidents of lithium battery-related fires on planes in recent years. This may seem strange given how ubiquitous lithium batteries have become in our daily life. They power our laptops, our mobile phones, our cars, and now our e-cigarettes. But fret not, as unlike snakes, it is possible to carry your vapes on a plane. Here’s how.
Taking and Using Your Hilo E-Cig On the Plane
Let’s break the bad news to you first. However inconspicuous your fancy Hilo vaporizer may look, do not use it on the plane. It’s just too risky. Besides the fact there is currently no airline in America that allows vaping on-board of a plane, it has been proven that e-cigarette vapor, although not actually smoke, can trigger smoke alarms. Rules in other countries may vary, but comprising of relatively new technology still unknown to many, why risk making your fellow passengers angry or confused by taking a draw on board?
So you might as well put it in your checked luggage then, right? Well, no. When traveling by plane, all electronic cigarettes and vaping devices must be placed in your personal belongings and brought with you in the cabin. Indeed, in accordance with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) regulation, you are currently not allowed to place your e-cigarette in your checked luggage, for fear that the battery will catch fire.
Best practice would be to place your switched-off electronic cigarette and spare lithium batteries in a clear plastic bag, ready to be inspected (and they likely will be!). The usual TSA guidelines can be observed for all your e-liquids, as they are packed in small bottles that are generally less than 3.4 ounces.
What About Using Your E-Cigarette Out of the Plane?
You are welcome to vape in all smoking-designated area in airports. However, this is far from ideal for people attempting to quit — and unfortunately, smoke-free airports in America do not allow vaping. When traveling outside of the US, the rules will vary from country to country, and from airport to airport. It’s always best to check the airport’s website to be safe. As a rule of thumb, in less-developed countries where smoking is still allowed in public places and where there seems to be a bit of a free-for-all situation going on (you’ll understand this if you’ve traveled to South East Asia), chances are, you won’t raise any suspicion by vaping.
Beyond the airport and airplane vaping conundrum, though, be aware that vaping is actually illegal in certain countries. Traveling to Argentina, Brazil, Colombia or Indonesia? Leave your e-cigarette at home.