The Ultimate Guide to Traveling with a Vape
As an ex-smoker and vaper, chances are you'll want to keep your mod within arm’s reach. While this is an easy thing to do at home or just out on the town, long-range travel is another story.
Rules vary from state to state when it comes to vaping and traveling on trains, boats and cars. In some cases, it's simply a matter of common courtesy (and common sense).
Some laws apply across the board, federally mandated by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and - in the case of air travel - the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Both of these organizations have rules about vaping.
Odds are there's a law that applies to you - one that you may not know about. Obviously, none of us want to get on the bad side of travel company staff, security or even the police. To that end, let's see what you need to do when it comes to traveling with a vape.
Vape in Cars
Let's start with the easiest one. If the car is your own private property, rules are minimal. Since there are no laws banning you from smoking in your own car, vaping (because of its mistaken association with tobacco) follows the same rules.
Smoking Around Minors in a Vehicle
To date, there are no laws in the United States regarding vaping in cars with minors. But since smoking has attached itself to vaping like stage IV lung cancer, cigarette laws are the best guide we have thus far.
The dangers of second hand smoke are pretty obvious by now, but exposure to kids is especially concerning.
To be fair, most smokers are considerate enough not to light up in enclosed areas around non-smokers (including minors). The same should apply with vaping. There may not be evidence that second hand vapor is bad, but vaping is still an adult activity and we don't want to encourage nicotine use to our children. Besides, they may not appreciate the clouds or smell.
However, some states have actually implemented smoking bans in cars with minors. According to the American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation, these laws exist in eight states, in addition to Puerto Rico. The cut-off ages are as follows:
- Arkansas: Under 14 years
- California: Under 18 years
- Louisiana: Under 13 years
- Maine: Under 16 years
- Oregon: Under 18 years
- Puerto Rico: Under 18 years
- Utah: Under 16 years
- Vermont: Under 9 years
- Virginia: Under 8 years
Whether this applies to e-cigarettes is probably between you and the state. If you’re concerned, it can't hurt to shoot off a question to law enforcement. But again, it’s probably good practice to keep adult activities away from kids.
When Not in Use
If vaping in your car isn't something you typically do, transporting it does require some common sense practices.
Make sure your e-liquids are sealed and out of reach of any children. Nicotine poisoning is a serious danger for kids who ingest the liquid.
Spilling is a headache. To avoid getting e-liquid into your bags or upholstery, keep the closed bottles inside a small sandwich bag. That way, leaks and spills remain contained and are easy to deal with.
If you're not going to be vaping, keep your tank empty. Doing so eliminates the chance of leakage. Even the best sealed tanks can leak when left on their sides too long. There's also the possibility of being thrown around and broken as your car navigates bumpy roads.
Vape on Boats/Cruises
Like with cars, there aren't any federal laws governing smoking or vaping on boats. The interesting thing about boats and cruises is that they're almost as autonomous as individual states. This means that they have total control over where you can vape.
Some organizations have designated areas. Carnival, for instance, allows tobacco and vaping in specific areas that can be monitored to prevent a fire hazard.
Royal Caribbean lets you vape on deck, specifically on the starboard side for most ships. These are clearly marked as designated smoking (and vaping) areas.
Vape on Airplanes
Flying is tricky business. Showing up two to three hours early to go through security, enduring endless lineups, getting scanned (or patted down), checking baggage - the list goes on. Unfortunately, sometimes we have no choice but to bite the bullet.
But with all the rules and regulations established by the TSA governing substances, where do e-cigarettes fall? What's the process for transporting vapes when you fly? These are questions that, as a vaper, may have crossed your mind if you intend to travel.
That being said, let's take a look at some of the rules and processes to make your flying experience as smooth as possible.
Before you Pack
It's really inconvenient to place an item in the wrong baggage and be forced to switch from checked to carry-on, or vice-versa. While some items can be either checked or carried with you, vapes aren’t one of them.
Where to Bag it
According to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) rules on e-cigarettes, any kind of vape - be it a simple pen or expensive mod - has to be brought with your carry-on. You can either leave it in the bag or keep it in your pocket.
The same goes for individual vape components, like tanks atomizers, coils, etc. Put simply, if it goes in a vape, it goes in your carry-on.
You can bring e-liquids with you (again, in your carry-on), but there are limits to the amount of liquid you can bring.
The TSA's rules governing liquids state that no container can carry more than 100mL of liquid. Since some juices are available in 120mL bottles, make sure you leave those at home and opt for 30 or 60mL ones instead.
According to the TSA battery rules, the lithium ion batteries found in many electronic devices (including vapes) are allowed in your carry-on only. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) also requires that, once you board, any spare batteries need to be removed and kept on you, such as inside a pocket or purse.
When it comes to vaping and air travel, the laws of physics and electricity can be your worst enemies.
Vape Tanks and Liquids
When you fly, the pressure in the cabin changes. Consequently, liquids contract and expand as the plane artificially adjusts its environment. Believe it or not, the tiny difference could be enough to cause your tank to leak. To avoid a messy, oily embarrassment, make sure you empty your tank. Ideally, wash the thing clean and let it dry out. If you don’t want to do that, at the very least keep the tank or vape pod packed away in a leak-proof container.
Batteries may seem benign when sitting idly, but the truth is that contact with another battery or metal object could start a fire.
The TSA has some safety recommendations:
- Keep your batteries protective casing to avoid direct electrical contact with other objects or batteries.
- Take any steps you can to prevent the battery from turning on. (Vapes typically have the 5-click system for that very purpose.)
As a general rule, chargers of any kind can go either in your carry-on or your checked bags. Keep the associated cord wrapped tightly around it and never leave it plugged into the battery.
Types of Vapes
Vapes come in all shapes and sizes, but the TSA has specific rules for which devices can and can’t be brought with you.
Regulated Vape Devices
Any regulated vape, be it a simple vape pod starter kit or store-bought sub-ohm is allowed (provided you follow the above rules).
Unregulated Vape Devices
Unregulated mods - essentially homemade builds - are never allowed. So unless you want to lose your custom-built masterpiece at the checkpoint, leave it at home and bring a regulated device instead.
It's also a good idea to avoid bringing vapes that resemble other objects, especially weapons. Whether or not an item is confiscated greatly depends on the TSA agent's judgment. What might slip by one person may not cut it for another. To avoid losing your device, err on the side of caution and bring a regular vape without the frills.
When it comes to vaping, there are two things that airlines prohibit.
This is pretty straightforward. Vaping isn't allowed during a flight. Period. If the flight attendants catch you sneaking in a puff or "stealth vaping," you could land yourself in a heap of trouble. Besides, it's just plain rude.
Charging your Vape
This is a lesser-known area, but the rule is the same. Since the batteries can't be plugged in or active, this means charging your vape during flight is also banned.