When you’re at your seat, you may notice a little sign that’s always lit, indicating that you can’t smoke on the plane. If you’re younger, this may seem odd – no one smokes on planes because it’s illegal. However, that wasn’t always the case!

By 2000, smoking had been banned on most flights, though it had been decades in the making. Currently, smoking is illegal on most international and domestic flights, though some airlines have ignored the ban and allowed passengers to do what they want. This is the exception, not the rule, so you should not expect to smoke on any airline while traveling, no matter how long your flight is.

There are some loopholes. For example, smoking is still technically allowed in the cockpit by some U.S. laws; however, this could damage the air quality and cause planes to divert and undergo emergency landings. In addition to reduced air quality, smoking on planes can cause fires.

Planes banned smoking on airplanes for a good reason, and they continue to update regulations to include newer technologies, including electronic cigarettes. Due to the combustible nature of the products, there are even rules on how to carry your e-cigs safely to prevent accidental fires.

Let’s explore more information about why planes banned smoking, why there are still smoking amenities available, and if e-cigarettes count under this ban.

Why Planes Banned Smoking?

Airlines banned smoking because it was dangerous, causing unintentional fires, diverted landings, and more. Additionally, it provided unsafe working conditions for the crew as the aircrafts continually cycled through air contaminated with secondhand smoke. Even the introduction of smoking sections on the plane didn’t help, so most countries and companies moved towards full bans between 1980 and 2000.

Why Do Planes Still Have Ashtrays?

While smoking is banned on flights, many still have ashtrays. The reason for this is twofold. One, the plane may be older and made at a time when smoking was still legal. Two, even if smoking is illegal, airlines want to provide a safe space for rule-breakers to put out their cigarettes.

If they don’t, passengers could potentially discard their lit cigarettes in the garbage, which could cause a fire unintentionally. This has happened several times, so while airlines don’t want to encourage this illegal behavior, they’d rather passively accommodate it than risk a fire.

Does the Smoking Ban Extend to Electronic Cigarettes?

Yes, the smoking ban also includes electronic cigarettes. Even though they don’t have an open flame, they can still cause a fire risk due to their batteries, which can combust in certain conditions. This is why they are not allowed in checked bags on planes.

Additionally, the dangers of second-hand smoke are still in play when you use electronic cigarettes, and perhaps even more so with the unregulated chemicals that are used in many pods. Some airlines may look the other way when you use electronic cigarettes, especially in the lavatory, but it’s extremely dangerous for you and others to do so.

So, Do Any Airlines Allow Smoking?

Officially, no. Most countries have implemented a smoking ban on their flights, many of which have been in place for decades. This includes both domestic and international flights, regardless of the length, so if you think you’ll have trouble flying without getting your next fix, consider investing in nicotine gum or a patch to help curb the cravings.

Unofficially, there are some airlines that may ignore the subtle smell of smoke on an airplane, particularly in the Middle East, Africa, and China. It is still illegal, and you could be subject to fines and even jail time, depending on the local regulations, if caught; however, the crew is less likely to report you. You can take your chances, but the odds may not be in your favor.