Safety videos butt out e-cigarettes

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Two new passenger safety videos have addressed the issue of electronic cigarettes, telling passengers not to use them during flight.

The videos, produced by Air New Zealand and Delta Airlines, use different techniques to communicate the warning, but are united in their message—that e-cigarettes fall under the same category as normal cigarettes.

‘Don’t forget, smoking, including electronic cigarettes, is not permitted anywhere on this flight,’ said Air New Zealand in their surfing-themed video.

Delta Airlines even employed the help of a screaming goat to get the message across, ‘Smoking, including the use of e-cigarettes is not allowed in any Delta flight,’ the video says.

In Australia Qantas and Virgin take a similar stance, prohibiting passengers from using e-cigarettes in-flight as an environmental and health consideration to other passengers.

E-cigarettes are battery-operated devices capable of converting liquid nicotine to an inhalable vapour by heating it close to 100 degrees, in an attempt to replicate the act of smoking.

Some e-cigarette ‘smokers’ have modified their devices and disabled safety mechanisms to make them easier to use.

Image: Flickr | TBEC Review CC BY 2.0
Examples of different e-cigarettes available. Image: Flickr | TBEC Review CC BY 2.0

E-cigarettes come in a range of shapes and sizes, with built-in safety capabilities varying between models. Apart from being unpleasant for non-smoking passengers nearby, e-cigarettes represent an emerging safety risk when packed into checked luggage.

As Flight Safety Australia reported last year, an e-cigarette is believed to be the cause of a fire in the cargo hold of a JetBlue passenger aircraft at Boston-Logan International Airport.

Packed in the side pocket of a passenger’s bag, the e-cigarette was accidentally switched on during loading, causing it to heat up and set fire to its surroundings.

It’s for this reason under Australian regulations you must not pack electronic cigarettes in your checked luggage. You are only allowed to bring them on board in your carry-on bags or on yourself.

Also ensure your e-cigarettes are not accidentally activated, by carrying the device in appropriate housing or packaging. Any spare batteries must have their terminals protected to prevent the risk of short-circuiting, which can also lead to fire.

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) strongly advises that passengers don’t charge their e-cigarettes in-flight.

More information can be found on the CASA website.

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