The battle over electronic cigarettes heats up even more this week as the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s general counsel Sam Kazman argued in court today against a federal regulation banning use of electronic cigarettes on planes. The lawsuit, filed by CEI and the Consumer Advocates for Smoke-Free Alternatives Association (CASAA), says the Department of Transportation overstepped its authority when it decided to prohibit vaping on all airplanes. People may think health concerns must have spurred the regulator crackdown, but that is contrary to all the scientific evidence showing that vaping is relatively safe in the short term and certainly less harmful than smoking traditional cigarettes.
Until the DOT decided to ban the use of vapes on a plane (alleging that vaping counts as smoking), airlines were fully able to prohibit their use and most did. However, in March 2016, the agency decided to impose a new prohibition under Congress’s anti-smoking airlines statute. The agency did this despite the fact the DOT itself admitted five years earlier that e-cigarettes neither burn tobacco nor produce smoke and without providing evidence of harm to passengers.