RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – The U.S. Department of Transportation says the use of smokeless electronic cigarettes on airplanes is prohibited and plans to issue an official ban this spring.  Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood says the department interprets smoking regulations to include e-cigarettes. That’s
according to a letter written to Sen. Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey obtained by The Associated Press.

Lautenberg had asked transportation officials to clarify the department’s stance. He wrote the 1987 law that banned smoking on airplanes.
E-cigarettes are plastic and metal devices that heat a liquid nicotine solution. They produce vapor instead of smoke. They have prompted debate over how risky they are and whether they’re even legal.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.