In this article we will explore the reasons for the government's recent decision to ban e-cigarettes on planes. This investigation looks at both the supposed health concerns e-cigarettes pose, as well as the recent fires that erupted in airports due to e-cigarettes.
First off, we should all be clear on what exactly electronic cigarettes are. For those who are unaware, e-cigarettes are defined by the FDA as "battery-operated products" which are designed to "deliver nicotine, flavor, and other chemicals" to the user. These devices turn chemicals "into an aerosol that is inhaled by the user." Currently the FDA admits that it needs to do more research on e-cigarettes to determine the real effects of using these products.
While e-cigarettes may give off fewer toxins than normal cigarettes, there are certain dangers that arise from these products that normal cigarettes never posed. Indeed, the real problem most lawmakers have with e-cigarettes is not so much with the "cigarette" part of the name. The real danger with these devices, as they see it, is the "e."
Back in 2014, an e-cigarette caused a fire in the cargo hold of a passenger plane at Boston's Logan International Airport. Also, in January of 2015, a checked bag, which arrived late and missed its connecting flight, caught fire when an e-cigarette in the bag overheated. These incidents were instrumental in making lawmakers create the ban on e-cigarettes on planes.
The ban on e-cigarettes, in this light, could be seen not so much as a direct indictment against the vaping community. Rather, this ban seems to be put into place as a precautionary measure against sudden and catastrophic electronic explosion. The loss in freedom for the vaping community might be better understood as a precautionary measure for using a device that has been shown in some instances to erratically explode and put all lives at risk. This ban seems to be put into place simply to avoid catastrophic accidents. This is not to say that this ban is "right or wrong." Perhaps this problem and stigma may be solved with more time, research, and safer iterations of e-cigarettes in the future.E-cigarettes, as we have seen in this short article, are not really causing a "plane panic" today because of the fumes they may or may not emit. Instead, these e-cigarettes are worrying lawmakers because of the threat they pose for accidentally starting a fire on a plane. Hopefully in the future, with more data and safer technology, both the vaping community and the public will be able to work together towards a decision that both embraces personal liberty and promotes public safety.