Rule bans e-cigarettes in air passengers' checked bags

The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) released an interim final rule on Monday that doesn’t allow battery-powered portable electronic smoking devices, such as e-cigarettes, e-pipes, e-cigars and electronic nicotine delivery systems, or personal vaporizers in a passenger's checked baggage.

The rule prohibits these devices in checked baggage and also prohibits passengers from charging their devices or their batteries while they are on board the plane.

Passengers may carry e-cigarettes in carry-on baggage or on their person but may not use them on flights.    

The rule still allows passengers to carry other devices with batteries, like cellphones, laptops and cameras, in their carry-on as well as checked baggage. Passengers are also allowed to have batteries for their own personal use inside their carry-on bags.

The rule was made in coordination with the Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

“It is safe for air travelers to fly with the kinds of batteries used in many portable electronic devices, as long as simple precautions are taken to reduce the risk of fires on aircraft,” PHMSA Administrator Marie-Therese Dominguez said. “Today’s interim final rule is in response to recent smoke and fire incidents involving e-cigarettes in passenger baggage and the need to harmonize the hazardous materials regulations with an addendum to the 2015-2016 International Civilian Aviation Organization Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air that became effective on June 9, 2015.”

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