Can You Bring Vape Pens and Vape on a Plane?
With the rising popularity of vaping, many curious users and bystanders are often left pondering one common question: “Can you bring vape pens on a plane?” Considering the varied and often confusing regulations surrounding air travel, we thought it best to dive into the details and get the information straight from the horse’s mouth.
Vaping and Unruly Passengers
Let’s start with some fresh off the press news. Just recently, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) had some rather startling data to share. According to them, there’s been a sharp increase in unruly passenger incidents in 2022 compared to 2021. One might imagine that with the easing of pandemic-related regulations such as mask mandates, vaccine mandates, and testing requirements, these numbers would be on the decline. However, the data says otherwise.
Upon closer inspection, it becomes clear that one of the main culprits behind these incidents is “non-compliance, verbal abuse and intoxication.” It’s easy to overlook, but one of the most prevalent issues with non-compliance is in-flight smoking. And when we talk about smoking, we aren’t just referring to traditional tobacco cigarettes. The culprits extend to e-cigarettes, vapes, and puff devices.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has stern words and strict rules about this. Their standpoint is clear: Electronic smoking devices may never be used or charged on a plane. They aren’t merely seen as an annoyance; they pose a real and potent threat to the safety and well-being of everyone on board.
A look at the statistics can bring the severity of the situation into perspective. In 2022 alone, electronic smoking devices, packed with their lithium batteries, topped the list as the primary cause behind incidents involving smoke, fire, and extreme heat on planes. The intensity of these incidents is truly staggering, with the number skyrocketing to three times the figure recorded in 2019!
Given the magnitude of the risk involved, it’s hardly surprising that these devices have specific restrictions when it comes to their batteries. For one, they’re not allowed in checked bags and must be transported in a traveler’s carry-on luggage. This rule aims to mitigate the risk associated with unattended lithium batteries in the cargo hold of the aircraft.
And it doesn’t stop there. In addition, the FAA dictates that lithium-ion batteries in these devices “must not exceed a Watt-hour (Wh) rating of 100 Wh,” which is a specification for energy capacity. This rule applies to all devices containing lithium-ion batteries, not just vape pens. And for those using lithium metal batteries, they can’t exceed 2 grams.
Vape Pens and Cannabis
For those considering flying with a weed pen, here’s another twist in the tale. The cartridges can’t contain cannabis, unless the THC content is less than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis. Anything beyond this threshold and it’s no longer considered a legal hemp product, but marijuana. Even if you’re flying between two states where cannabis is legalized, it’s still illegal to fly with weed because it remains a controlled substance under federal law.
Now, it’s worth noting that the TSA, or the Transportation Security Administration, enforces the FAA’s policy on electronic smoking devices. But there’s a caveat here. While TSA officers don’t actively search for marijuana or other illegal drugs, if an illegal substance is found during security screening, they will notify law enforcement.
In practical terms, this means that even if you’re merely traveling with extra cartridges or e-liquids for your vape pen, you need to remember the TSA’s rules on liquids. Any amount more than 3.4 ounces will raise red flags during security screening.
No Vaping on Board
Regardless of who you’re flying with and where, one rule holds firm – you can’t smoke or vape on a plane. The Department of Transportation regulations explicitly ban the use of electronic cigarettes in all forms, and airlines are required to enforce these regulations.
Punishment for Violation
Breaking these rules can lead to serious consequences. How the airlines deal with onboard smokers varies, but the consequences are universally severe. In 2021, an Alaska Airlines passenger found this out the hard way when they were reported to the FAA for smoking an e-cigarette in the lavatory. The result was a fine of over $10,000. In another case in 2019, Spirit Airlines banned a passenger for life after they set off the lavatory smoke alarm.
Traveling Abroad with Vape Pens
If you’re planning to travel internationally, there’s another layer of complexity to consider. You’ll need to research whether the destination country permits battery-powered electronic smoking devices. Certain countries, such as Mexico, have regulations that explicitly prohibit these devices.
In conclusion, the question of whether you can bring vape pens on a plane is not a simple yes or no. It’s a layered topic involving legalities, safety concerns, and airline-specific regulations. What’s clear is that while carrying a vape pen might be permitted, using it during the flight is not. As responsible citizens, it is our duty to respect and adhere to these rules, ensuring a safe and pleasant journey for ourselves and our fellow passengers.