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DOT Bans Use of E-Cigarettes on Commercial Flights, Including Charters

March 9, 2016

The U.S. DOT recently issued a final rule that bans the use of electronic cigarettes on commercial aircraft. The ban affects scheduled airlines and charter flights in which a flight attendant is a required crewmember (aircraft with 19 or more passenger seats).

The DOT said it created this regulation to improve air quality, reduce health risks and enhance safety. The final rule prohibits smoking on all commercial non-scheduled flights, except for single-entity charters and on-demand air taxi flights where a flight attendant is not a required crewmember.

This announcement follows a 2011 notice of proposed rulemaking in which the DOT proposed to amend its existing smoking rule to explicitly ban the use of e-cigarettes on all flights covered by current smoking bans. The proposal also asked specifically about including a ban of e-cigarettes on charter flights since the current regulations prohibiting smoking on charter flights were adopted in a 2012 final rule.

The DOT said it expects the effect on operators to be minimal. During the proposed rule’s comment period, DOT reviewed carrier websites and advertisements, which indicate many carriers already prohibit use of e-cigarettes on aircraft.

View the final rule. (PDF)