The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has amended its 2015-2016 Technical Instruction for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods By Air to prohibit passengers and crew from carrying e-cigarettes and other battery-operated electronic smoking devices in checked luggage, and from charging such devices in aircraft cabins.
Although these standards are not legally binding, they are used as references by the 191 countries that follow ICAO guidance when developing legally-enforceable domestic regulations. Passengers will still be permitted to carry e-cigarettes in cabin baggage, and rules on usage will continue to be determined by individual airlines.
The ICAO initially issued advice regarding e-cigarettes in December 2014. The organization recommended that airlines require passengers to pack these devices in carry-on luggage stored inside the cabin rather than in baggage checked and stored in the cargo hold, so that any incidents—such as potential fires—would be noticed immediately by passengers or crew and dealt with promptly.
“Several incidents have been reported involving e-cigarette heating elements being accidentally activated and resulting in fires in checked baggage,” said ICAO council president Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu. “We had already recommended that our member states take actions on these concerns late last year but, after a further review by our Dangerous Goods Panel, it was determined that a formal amendment to the ICAO Technical Instructions should also be undertaken.”