Feds snuff-out e-cigs in checked commercial baggage

Department of Transportation nixes e-smoking devices

e cig schematic DoT

Saying portable electronic smoking devices such as e-cigarettes, e-cigars, e-pipes or personal vaporizers are basically a fire threat the Department of Transportation in coordination with the Federal Aviation Administration today ruled that the devices will no longer be allowed in checked luggage on commercial aircraft(they still can be carried in carry-on bags but cannot be charging).

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The DOT’s “Interim final ruling” still could be changed and does not ban passengers from transporting other devices containing batteries such as laptop computers, cell phones or cameras -- for personal use in checked or carry-on baggage. Nor does it restrict a passenger from transporting batteries for personal use in carry-on baggage, the agency stated.

Today’s interim final rule is in response to recent smoke and fire incidents involving e-cigarettes in passenger baggage the DoT stated. For example:

  • On August 9, 2014, at Boston’s Logan Airport, an e-cigarette in a passenger’s checked bag in the cargo hold of a passenger aircraft caused a fire that forced an evacuation of the aircraft.
  • On January 4, 2015, at Los Angeles International Airport, a checked bag was found to be on fire in a baggage area. Emergency responders attributed the fire to an overheated e-cigarette.

These incidents --and several others occurring outside of air transportation-- have shown that e-cigarettes can overheat and cause fires when the heating element is accidentally activated or left on. E-cigarettes are battery-powered devices that simulate tobacco smoking by producing a heated vapor, the DoT stated.

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