The U.S. Transportation Department announced Wednesday a new ban on electronic cigarettes on commercial airplanes, the Los Angeles Times reported. Applicable to all domestic and foreign carriers with flights scheduled to and from the U.S., the rule prohibits all e-cigarettes, including electronic cigars and pipes, as well as similar devices made to look like other products, such as pens.
Most airlines previously banned the smoking of e-cigarettes, but the Transportation Department has now also prohibited passengers from packing them in checked luggage because they reportedly have been known to catch fire.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said he submitted a final rule that says e-cigarettes fall under the same ban as other tobacco products. It is expected to become effective 30 days after it is published. Foxx said the ban is intended to protect passengers from “unwanted exposure to aerosol fumes,” the Verge reported. The fumes are produced by the smoking of e-cigarettes.
“The department took a practical approach to eliminate any confusion between tobacco cigarettes and e-cigarettes by applying the same restrictions on both,” Foxx said in a statement.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently reported there’s a lack of scientific consensus about the health effects of e-cigarettes and vaping, but it suggested a precautionary approach to them is best.