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New restrictions on e-cigarettes in the air

Clear restrictions have been placed on the carrying of e-cigarettes and other electronic smoking devices on aircraft.

The restrictions mean electronic smoking devices can only be taken on board an aircraft in carry-on baggage or on the person of a passenger.

Electronic smoking devices must not be placed in luggage which is being checked-in and carried in the baggage compartment of an aircraft.

The new restrictions are in International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) technical instructions which are applicable under the Australian Civil Aviation Safety Regulations.  ICAO is the United Nations agency responsible for developing safety standards for the international aviation community.

The reason for the restrictions is the risk of the devices inadvertently being activated in bags while in the baggage compartment of an aircraft.

These electronic devices are powered by small lithium ion batteries which when activated in a confined space can overheat and result in a fire.

A fire in the baggage compartment of a passenger jet on the tarmac in the United States last year is believed to have been started by an electronic smoking device being accidently turned on while inside a bag.

In this case the fire was extinguished while the aircraft was still on the ground.

Passengers carrying spare batteries for their electronic smoking device must protect the terminals of the batteries to prevent a short circuit.  This can be done by taping over the terminals or carrying batteries in original packaging or separate plastic bags.

Recharging smoking devices or their batteries is not permitted on an aircraft.

Passengers must also be aware that airlines do not allow electronic cigarettes to be used on an aircraft.

Passengers do not need approval from their airline to carry electronic smoking devices.

Media contact:
Peter Gibson
Mobile: 0419 296 446
Email: peter.gibson@casa.gov.au
Ref: MR5515