New Restrictions for “E-Cigs” on Aircraft
On October 30, 2015 (80 FR 66817), the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) published an interim final rule in the federal register to prohibit passengers and crewmembers from carrying battery powered portable electronic smoking devices (e.g., e-cigarettes, e-cigs, e-cigars, e-pipes, e-hookahs, 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. These devices may continue to be carried in carry-on baggage. This action is consistent with a similar action taken by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) that incorporated this restriction into the 2015 - 2016 Edition of the ICAO Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air by way of an addendum and is necessary to address an immediate safety risk. This interim final rule does not impact the existing rules on the transport of lithium batteries or other portable electronic devices that are transported for personal use in a passenger’s checked or carry-on baggage. Because the actions taken in this interim final rule address a public safety risk, PHMSA finds that good cause exists to amend the regulations without advance notice and opportunity for public comment. For the reasons described below, public notice is impracticable, unnecessary, and contrary to the public interest. PHMSA encourages persons to participate in this rulemaking by submitting comments containing relevant information, data, or views. PHMSA will consider all comments received on or before the closing date for comments, and will consider late filed comments to the extent practicable. This interim final rule may be amended based on comments received. The effective date of these amendments is November 6, 2015.