March 3, 2016

Department of Transportation Bans the Use of Electronic Cigarettes on Commercial Flights

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx this week announced a final rule that explicitly bans the use of electronic cigarettes on commercial flights. The final rule applies to all scheduled flights of United States and foreign carriers involving transportation in, to, and from the U.S. 

“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,” said Secretary Foxx in a news release. “The department took a practical approach to eliminate any confusion between tobacco cigarettes and e-cigarettes by applying the same restrictions to both.”

The final rule now clarifies that the Department’s airline smoking rule prohibits the use of electronic cigarettes and similar products in addition to the existing prohibition on the smoking of tobacco products.

The department views its current regulatory smoking ban to be sufficiently broad to include the use of electronic cigarettes; however, the prior rule did not explicitly define “smoking.” The Department took this action to eliminate any confusion over whether its ban includes electronic cigarettes according to the news release.

This rule explicitly bans the use of electronic cigarettes in all forms, including but not limited to electronic cigars, pipes, and devices designed to look like everyday products such as pens. 

The final rule is available at, docket number DOT-OST-2011-0044.

Browse Our Resources