Lawsuit May Reverse Ban On Vaping E-Cigarettes On Flights

Guy Bentley | Contributor

The ban on vaping during flights could be overturned thanks to a vaper rights group and a free market nonprofit.

The Department of Transportation (DOT) rule prohibiting vaping on planes passed a House panel in February to some fanfare after GOP Rep. [crscore]Duncan Hunter[/crscore] puffed on his vape pen during proceedings. (RELATED: Dems Try Banning E-Cigs On Planes, GOP Congressman Starts Vaping During Committee Meeting)

Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, who proposed the ban as an amendment to the Aviation Innovation, Reform, and Reauthorization Act, said vaping should be treated the same as smoking and be prohibited in airline cabins.

The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) and the Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association (CASAA) filed a lawsuit against the department April 28, arguing the DOT doesn’t have the authority to ban the devices.

E-cigarettes don’t emit any smoke and contain no tobacco. The devices are 95 percent safer than regular cigarettes, according to the Royal College of Physicians and Public Health England. A study published in April even concluded vaping indoors posed little risk to bystanders. (RELATED: E-Cigarette Study: Vaping Indoors ‘Unlikely’ To Pose Any Risk To Non-Vapers)

“In a twisting of the English language that would make Orwell proud, the DOT has stretched the definition of ‘smoking’ to include smoke-free water vapor because some vapor products ‘resemble traditional cigarettes,'” said CEI Fellow Marc Scribner said back in March.

“As the Supreme Court has made clear, an ‘agency may not bootstrap itself into an area in which it has no jurisdiction’ by stretching the language of a statute. The agency has evidently decided that, when it comes to following the law, it’s no longer bound by what the law says,” Scribner added.

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Guy Bentley



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