Smoking has been banned on all domestic and international flights to and from the United States since 2000. However, smokers seeking to satisfy their nicotine cravings may be able to do so on certain flights, thanks to a new trend that emerged around 2009: smokeless cigarettes. Also known as "electronic cigarettes" or "e cigarettes," this battery-operated alternative works by heating a flavoured liquid that produces a vapour. It's puffed like a normal cigarette, except there is no smoke or odour.
Irish discount airline Ryanair began selling smokeless cigarettes on all of its flights beginning in September 2009. The airline, which flies throughout Europe and North Africa, said that the move was prompted by a survey of more than 24,000 Ryanair passengers who said they would like to smoke during flights. Ryanair sells a brand called "Similar Smokeless Cigarette" for 6 euros -- the equivalent of about £5 as of 2010. Passengers may inhale the cigarettes, which are not lit, but deliver a small amount of nicotine through inhalation.
Global Exec Aviation
Global Exec Aviation (GEA), a premier luxury charter jet service based in Southern California, announced in November 2010 that it was partnering with Blu Cigs, a U.S. manufacturer of disposable smokeless cigarettes. The charter jet service provides passengers with free in-flight packs of Blu Cigs. In an article in USA Today, Blu Cigs' president, Jason Healy, explained that it hopes some commercial airlines will consider following suit. "Definitely it's the first step," he was quoted as saying.
Legal Gray Area on Electronic Cigarettes
The Federal Aviation Administration or the Transportation Security Administration have not issued any official rulings on electronic cigarettes. The decision to permit them is left up to the individual airlines, as of December 2010. Certain domestic and international air carriers have prohibited their in-flight use -- including American Airlines, Continental Airlines, KLM, AirTran Airways, Virgin Atlantic and Japan Airlines -- while others have yet to address the subject publicly. If you have any doubts, contact the airline to find out its current ruling on electronic cigarettes before flying.
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