Obama administration bans e-cigarette use on all flights

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The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) finalized a rule Wednesday banning electronic cigarettes on all commercial flights.

Transportation Secretary Anthony FoxxAnthony FoxxAutonomous vehicle guidelines will provide direction, not regulation Transportation Dept. launches aviation test lab with NASA Overnight Regulation: Drones ready to take flight under new rules MORE said the final rule applies to all flights with both national and foreign airline carriers traveling to and from the United States.

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“This final rule is important because it protects airline passengers from unwanted exposure to aerosol fumes that occur when electronic cigarettes are used onboard airplanes,” Foxx said 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.”

Because DOT's previous smoking ban did not explicitly define smoking, the agency said the department needed to eliminate any confusion surrounding the use of e-cigarettes. While DOT said it recognizes that further study is needed to fully understand the risks of e-cigarettes, it believes a precautionary approach is the best way to deal with a product that’s been found to contain harmful chemicals.

The rule bans all vape products, including electronic cigarettes, cigars, pipes and devices designed to look like pens. Medical devices like nebulizers, however, are not included.

The final rule will take effect in 30 days.