Lawsuit over vaping on airplanes heats up

Nearly one year ago, a relatively unknown congressman named Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-California) pulled out his handy vape pen and began blowing little plumes of vapor across the room during a congressional hearing on airplane vaping. The video of his strange behavior went viral throughout the vaping community, and also a star was born. Hunter was instantly nicknamed “The Vaping Congressman.”

While his antics that are vaporous were applauded by the vaping community far and wide, his congressional cloud chasing routine did little to curry favor together with the political elite. Within days, Hunter lost the fight. Vaping on planes is now banned.


Around the same time, a rather obscure lobbyist group known for favoring small government and free enterprise chose to pick up the ball and run with it. Competitive Enterprise Institute filed a lawsuit in the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington, DC. Litigation CEI v. DOT challenges the Department of Transportation’s choice to prohibit plane vaping. The pro-vaping advocacy group Consumer Promoters for Smoke-Free Choices Organization (CASAA) is also one of the plaintiffs.

After almost a year, the case is eventually seeing the inside of a court room. And according to the CEI website, lead lawyer for the plaintiffs, Sam Kazman, came out swinging by asserting that the DOT has “ overstepped its ability.”

Even, CASAA, and CEI Duncan Hunter are not actually arguing whether or not a person has the legal right. But if the Court of Appeals upturns the case, that very situation may become a reality. The cornerstone of Kazman’s argument is that the vapor from electronic cigarettes isn’t considered a significant health risk according to the DOT itself. Thus, the verdict must be overturned.

“Until the DOT decided to ban the employment of vapes on a plane (alleging that vaping counts as smoking), airlines were completely able to forbid their use and most did. However, in March 2016, the bureau decided to inflict a brand new prohibition under Congress’s anti-smoking airlines statute. The agency did this notwithstanding the fact the DOT itself acknowledged five years earlier that e-cigarettes do not produce smoke and without supplying evidence of harm to passengers.”

Rep. Duncan Hunter took the argument one step further. In his infamous vapor- Hunter asserted that the health care industry is already looking to vaping as the brand new, preferred approach to ingesting prescription medications. He forecasts that millions of Americans will very soon be buying vaping apparatus in mass amounts, but rather than inhaling their favorite e- juices, they ’ll be vaping everything from aspirin to Prozac.

There are many sides to this exchange, and everyone has a right to their own view. However, is airplane vaping actually a fight worth fighting?


Vaping is consistently demonized in the newspapers with purposely misleading rhetoric spouted by such official organizations as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the CDC, and even the Obama-named U.S. Attorney General Vivek Murthy.

Does the community that is vaping really agree that airplane vaping is a right that we cannot do without?

Duncan Hunter needed to make airplane vaping legal for a reason that was very commendable. Vaping drugs is the wave of the future. But his congressional vape show did nothing but aggravate an already prejudicial political punditry. Furthermore, does anyone really need an airplane cabin filled with e-cig vapor laced with who-knows-what-type-of-drugs?

CEI isn’t saying that airplane vaping should be made legal. Although certain types of devices like bettlejuice’s vape pen may eventually allowed, CEI simply wants the DOT to stay out of the discussion. CEI believes that if an airline business would like to enable vaping on their own planes, then they ought to possess the legal right to do so.

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