UN aviation agency bans e-cigarettes in checked bags

This Sept 25, 2013 file photograph illustration shows a woman smoking an e-cigarette in Washington, DC. The International Civil Aviation Organisation announced Monday a ban on e-cigarettes in checked baggage, following reports they have sparked fires
This Sept 25, 2013 file photograph illustration shows a woman smoking an e-cigarette in Washington, DC. The International Civil Aviation Organisation announced Monday a ban on e-cigarettes in checked baggage, following reports they have sparked fires in the cargo area of aircraft. -- PHOTO: AFP

OTTAWA (AFP) - The International Civil Aviation Organisation announced Monday a ban on e-cigarettes in checked baggage, following reports they have sparked fires in the cargo area of aircraft.

Airline passengers and crew are encouraged instead to carry the devices in the cabin "so that potential incidents could be immediately dealt with," said the UN agency.

The ICAO, based in Montreal, works with 191 member states and airlines to develop international standards and safety regulations.

The amendment to those regulations regarding e-cigarettes also prohibits recharging of electronic smoking devices in aircraft cabins.

"Several incidents have been reported involving e-cigarette heating elements being accidentally activated and resulting in fires in checked baggage," said Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu, the president of the ICAO Council.

Several airlines have already taken measures against e-cigarettes after concerns were raised late last year, he said.

The new rules are effective immediately following their provisional approval by Aliu in late May and final circulation to representatives of the ICAO's governing body and its technical arm.