Jolie Lee, USA Today (Travel)
Don't be surprised if you see someone in an airport smoking what looks like a cigarette.
cannot use electronic cigarettes, also known as e-cigarettes, on
flights. However, major U.S. airports are divided on whether or not
people can use them inside the terminal.
Currently, e-cigarettes -
battery-powered devices that deliver nicotine and produce an odorless
vapor - fall through loopholes in federal regulation. The Food and Drug
Administration will be proposing national rules for e-cigarettes,
including how they can be marketed and age restrictions for purchasing
For now, state and local laws dictate how airports
govern their use indoors, according to the Airports Council
International. This gray area has led to different protocols at
different airports - sometimes even within the same airport.
TODAY Network reached out to the nation's busiest airports to find out
which ones allow you to "vape" inside. Ronald Reagan Washington National
Airport, Las Vegas' McCarran International Airport, Minneapolis-St.
Paul International Airport and Charlotte Douglas International Airport
are among airports that permit the use of e-cigarettes inside. Miami
International Airport has given the OK for now, but says it is reviewing
San Francisco International Airport, Chicago's
airports, Philadelphia International Airport and Los Angeles
International Airport treat e-cigarettes the same as tobacco cigarettes
and have banned their use inside, except for in smoking-designated
To make things more confusing, New York City's LaGuardia
International and John F. Kennedy International airports both ban and
permit e-cigarette use - depending on the terminal you're in.
state of New York does not have specific laws banning e-cigarette use
indoors, so businesses can set their own policies. The New York Port
Authority oversees the airports and bans e-cigarette use in the
terminals it operates, but it leases some terminals to airlines and
private companies, which can have their own policies on e-cigarette use.
LaGuardia, e-cigarette use is banned in Terminal B, operated by the New
York Port Authority, but is allowed in Terminals C and D, operated by
Delta Airlines . At JFK, e-cigarette use is banned in JetBlue's Terminal
5 but allowed in Delta's Terminal 2.
New York City and Chicago
are considering laws to ban e-cigarette use in public spaces, treating
the device the same as tobacco cigarettes. If the measure passes in New
York, that means e-cigarette use will no longer be allowed in any of the
airports' public spaces.
The FDA tested samples of the nicotine liquid solution vaporized by e-cigarettes and found "detectable levels of known carcinogens and toxic chemicals," according to a 2009 report from the agency.
e-cigarette industry, however, says the product is a low-risk
alternative to tobacco cigarettes and do not produce secondhand smoke.
industry group says that banning e-cigarettes as if they were tobacco
cigarettes would "wrongfully perpetuate unfounded fears, myths and
common misconceptions about vaporizers," according to an e-mailed
statement from the Smoke Free Alternatives Trade Association.
E-cigarette use has been "growing rapidly," according to the Centers for Disease Control. One in five smokers had tried e-cigarettes
in 2011, double the number from the previous year, a CDC report found.
Overall, about 6% of Americans smoked e-cigarettes in 2011, CDC said.