DOT prohibits e-cigarettes in checked baggage

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The U.S. Department of Transportation has banned electronic smoking devices from checked baggage and prohibited the charging of those devices on the aircraft.

“We know from recent incidents that e-cigarettes in checked bags can catch fire during transport,” said Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Fire hazards in flight are particularly dangerous. Banning e-cigarettes from checked bags is a prudent safety measure.”

Prior incidents have shown that e-cigarettes can overheat and cause fires when the heating element is accidentally turned on, the DOT said.

On Aug. 9, 2014, at Boston's Logan Airport, an e-cigarette contained in a passenger's checked bag in the cargo hold of an aircraft caused a fire that forced an evacuation of the aircraft. On Jan. 4, 2015, at Los Angeles Airport, a checked bag that arrived late and missed its connecting flight was found to be on fire in a baggage area. Emergency responders attributed the fire to an overheated e-cigarette inside the bag.

Passengers may continue to carry e-cigarettes for personal use in carry-on baggage or on their person but may not use them on flights.

The rule does not prohibit a passenger from carrying other devices containing batteries for personal use (such as laptop computers and cell phones) in checked or carry-on baggage, nor does it restrict a passenger from transporting batteries for personal use in carry-on baggage.

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