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Federal Appeals Court - Vaping on Planes

Federal Appeals Court - Vaping on Planes

 

A divided federal appeal court has voted to uphold an Obama-era regulation that banned e-cigarettes on both inbound and outbound American flights. The original rule was introduced by the US Department of Transportation in March 2016, which clarified the debate on whether or not e-cigs were included in cigarette bans. Following the stoppage, the Competitive Enterprise Institute and Consumer Advocates for Smoke-Free Alternatives sued, claiming that the "no smoking" in existence did not apply to e-cigarettes.

 

The decision regarding the existing embargo brought a series of protests, including from Sam Kazman the Competitive Enterprise Institute's general counsel. Kazman remarked following the ruling that the current ban would be upheld, "Today's court ruling creates a dangerous new rule for interpreting the law." He continued, "It allows the commonly understood language of Congress's 30-year-old no smoking statue to be stretched in a ban on e-cigarettes-even though e-cigarettes involve no combustion and produce no smoke."

 

This backlash is easily understood, seeing as the three-judge panel didn't reach a unanimous decision. Their decision to uphold the prohibition is based on what they have deemed a "lack of research regarding e-cigarettes," believing that scientists are only beginning to understand the effects of vaping on the vape users and those around them. US Circuit Judge A. Raymond Randolph wrote, "We must ask whether the term 'smoking,' in a statute enacted before modern e-cigarettes existed, covers these devices."

 

Despite his words, Randolph concluded that yes, vaping did count as smoking, the only judge to disagree was Judge Douglas Ginsburg, who voiced his uncertainty as to whether or not vaping should be classified as smoking. Continuing, he writes "True, e-cigarettes might fit within these definitions if one squints hard enough, but as the court itself notes, 'we cannot just tally the dictionary definitions.'"

 

When the ban was first announced,The US Department of Transportation stated that they "took a practical approach to eliminate any confusion between tobacco cigarettes and e-cigarettes by applying the same restrictions to both."

 

While the book has been closed on this case, you can be sure that this won't be the end of the debate. Vaping has become a major discussion not only across America but internationally. This wasn't a unanimous decision, which means there is still some support on a legal level for e-cigarettes. We will continue to work towards e-cigarettes being recognized as different from traditional cigarettes. For more information on how you can get involved, please visit CASAA and see their calls to action, or the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

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