Durbin, Blumenthal Applaud DOT Action to Ban E-Cigarette Use on Airplanes

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – Today U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) applauded the Department of Transportation’s announcement that the use of electronic cigarettes on commercial flights will be explicitly banned.


“We applaud DOT’s efforts to stop this health threat on airplanes once and for all,” the Senators said. “Thankfully, fliers will no longer have to worry about the poisons and toxic air emanating from e-cigarettes and whether the airline they fly allows their use. These dangerous devices pose an unacceptable risk to everyone confined for hours on an aircraft – especially children, pregnant women, the elderly and those with respiratory ailments – and we are pleased that DOT has heeded our call to ensure the smoking of e-cigarettes never takes flight.”


In June 2014, Durbin, Blumenthal, Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), and others sent a letter to the Department of Transportation (DOT) urging the ban of e-cigarettes on airplanes to protect passengers from secondhand smoke.


Durbin also introduced an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2015 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations bill to require DOT to finalize the rule regarding the use of electronic cigarettes on aircraft within 90 days of enactment of the appropriations bill. Numerous organizations, including the American Lung Association, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Heart Association, and the American Academy of Family Physicians, endorsed Durbin’s amendment to clarify the ban on e-cigarette use on airplanes.


Today’s announcements comes nearly twenty-six years to the day after the implementation of landmark legislation to ban smoking on commercial airline flights. In 1987, the United States House of Representatives passed Durbin’s amendment to the Federal Aviation Act, making domestic flights of two hours or less smoke-free. The bill was signed by President Reagan in 1988. This led to the law making all domestic flights of six hours or less smoke-free. A decade later, Durbin passed legislation that banned all smoking on international flights taking off or landing in the United States.