The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) said this week that it has issued a final rule that bans the use of electronic cigarettes on all domestic and foreign commercial airline flights.
All carriers traveling within, to or from the U.S. are covered under the rule, which will be available soon in the Federal Register.
Research suggests electronic cigarettes do not eliminate all of the harmful effects of regular cigarettes' secondhand smoke. Several studies indicate that the aerosol emitted by electronic cigarettes includes several dangerous chemicals.
USDOT said it was concerned about vulnerable populations, such as the elderly, children and those who have respiratory problems.
The purpose of the rule is to clarify airline smoking laws. USDOT currently forbids tobacco smoking during flights, and there was some confusion over how "smoking" should be defined with the arrival of e-cigarettes on the market.
“This final rule is important because it protects airline passengers from unwanted exposure to electronic cigarette aerosol that occurs when electronic cigarettes are used onboard airplanes,” U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx said. “The department took a practical approach to eliminate any confusion between tobacco cigarettes and e-cigarettes by applying the same restrictions to both.”