The U.S. Department of Transportation is all, like, "I've had it with these mothafuckin' vapes, on this mothafuckin' plane!"
Citing in-flight fire hazards, DOT announced a ban on vape pens, e-cigarettes, and other similiar devices in any checked baggage of passengers or flight crew.
What exactly is banned? The interim final rule (IFR) issued today prohibits "passengers and crewmembers from carrying battery-powered portable electronic smoking devices (e.g. e-cigarettes, e-cigs, e-cigars, e-pipes, personal vaporizers, electronic nicotine delivery systems) in checked baggage and prohibit passengers and crewmembers from charging the devices and/or batteries on board the aircraft."
The DOT defines an e-cigarette as "a battery-powered device that simulates tobacco smoking by producing a heated vapor, which resembles smoke."
Passengers are allowed to continue to carry e-cigarettes for their own personal use in carry-on baggage, or on their person on the plane (in a pocket or whatever). But you can't use them during the flight.
The Department's current regulatory ban on smoking of tobacco products on passenger flights includes the use of electronic cigarettes. Nevertheless, to prevent passenger or crewmember confusion, the Department has proposed to amend its existing airline smoking rule to explicitly ban use of electronic cigarettes aboard aircraft.
The IFR does not prohibit a passenger from carrying other devices containing batteries for personal use (such as laptop computers, cell phones, cameras, etc.) in checked or carry-on baggage, nor does it restrict a passenger from transporting batteries for personal use in carry-on baggage.
"We know from recent incidents that e-cigarettes in checked bags can catch fire during transport," Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement announcing the new federal rule.
"Fire hazards in flight are particularly dangerous. Banning e-cigarettes from checked bags is a prudent safety measure."
The DOT referenced a U.S. Fire Administration report that says over two dozen e-cigarette-related explosions and fires that have taken place since 2009. Some of those combustible events involved e-cigarettes packed in checked luggage on airplanes.
DOT Issues New Flight Safety Rule for E-Cigarettes [transportation.gov, some good related coverage at CBS News, USA Today]
Shutterstock Photo: "Airline pilot wearing uniform with epaulettes smoking electronic cigarette. Copyright: Monika Wisniewska."