The Department of Transportation is banning airline passengers from packing e-cigarettes and other battery-operated electronic smoking devices in their checked bags because of the risk of fires, the Associated Press reports.
E-cigarettes will be allowed in carry-on bags, but passengers will not be able to recharge them on the plane, the article notes.
There have been at least 26 incidents since 2009 in which explosions or fires on planes have been caused by e-cigarettes. In several cases, the devices were packed in luggage. In most instances, the devices were accidentally left on, or the battery short-circuited.
In January, a checked bag that arrived late at Los Angeles International Airport and missed its connecting flight caught fire in the luggage area because of an overheated e-cigarette that was packed inside.
The rule will go into effect within the next two weeks, according to AP.
“We know from recent incidents that e-cigarettes in checked bags can catch fire during transport,” Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a news release. “Fire hazards in flight are particularly dangerous. Banning e-cigarettes from checked bags is a prudent safety measure.”
Passengers will continue to be allowed to carry other devices containing batteries for personal use (such as laptop computers, cell phones and cameras) in checked or carry-on baggage. The rule does not restrict passengers from transporting batteries for personal use in carry-on baggage.