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Travelling with e-Cigarettes

As the popularity of electronic cigarettes has taken off in recent years, more and more 'vapers' have been left uncertain as to the rules regarding travelling by air with their e-cigarettes. Indeed, many airlines and airports have only recently provided specific details on their policies. This guide aims to make the issues clearer.

However, it is important to note that rules and regulations can change at any time, so you may want to double check with your airport and airline before you travel if you are unsure about travelling with your e-cigarettes.

Using e-Cigarettes at UK Airports

Using e-cigarettes is banned at all but one UK airport: Heathrow. The airport hit the headlines in November 2013 when it became the first airport to create a dedicated vaping area, which was located in Terminal 4. Heathrow Airport currently states on its website that you can use e-cigarettes within the premises but not beyond the gate area.


Every other UK airport either bans the use of e-cigarettes or does not state its policy. Here is some information about each airport:

Gatwick AirportSmoking e-cigarettes is not permitted anywhere in the terminal building.
Heathrow AirportPermitted on the premises but not beyond the gate area.
Stansted AirportUse of e-cigarettes has not been permitted indoors since August 2014.
Exeter AirportE-cigarettes can be taken through the Security Search Area but using them is not permitted inside the terminal.
Belfast AirportE-cigarettes can only be used in the designated smoking areas outside the terminal.
Birmingham AirportE-cigarettes can be taken through security but they are treated in the same way as regular cigarettes in the terminal, meaning they can only be smoked in the outside smoking facility.
Bristol Airport E-cigarettes can only be used in the designated smoking areas.
Cardiff Airport No use of electronic cigarettes is permitted inside the terminal. They can only be used in the designated smoking areas outside the terminal next to Gate 2.
East Midlands AirportUse of e-cigarettes has not been permitted inside the terminal since August 2014.
Humberside AirportE-cigarettes cannot be used within the terminal or outside the terminal entrance. They can only be used in the smoking area.
Liverpool John Lennon Airport E-cigarettes can only be used in the outdoor smoking areas.
London City AirportE-cigarettes cannot be used in the terminal or once you pass through security.
Luton AirportE-cigarettes cannot be used anywhere apart from the smoking area outside the terminal, located outside the front entrance.
Manchester AirportNo use of e-cigarettes allowed inside the terminal.
Newcastle AirportUse of e-cigarettes only permitted in smoking shelters at the front of the terminal building and in two more designated areas after passing through security.
Southampton AirportUse of e-cigarettes is not permitted inside the terminal building or while walking to or from the airplanes. They can only be used outside of the terminal building and before passing security.
Other AirportsEdinburgh, Aberdeen, Durham Tees Valley, Glasgow Prestwick, Leeds and Robin Hood airports do not provide any information about their policies regarding e-cigarettes.

Going through Security with e-Cigarettes

Going through security with e-cigarettes in your hand luggage is not generally considered a problem at UK airports. For example, Heathrow claims on its website that you can carry e-cigarettes with you through security.

As long as you stick to the general rules about what is and is not permitted to take through security, you should not encounter any difficulties. The only issue that you may have is when it comes to the e-liquid because you can only carry containers no larger than 100 ml through security. You will also have to place any e-liquid inside a clear plastic bag like any other liquids.

Carrying and Using e-Cigarettes on Planes

It is usually fine to carry your e-cigarettes with you onto the plane. However, you are advised to check with your airline if you are uncertain. Some airlines may not permit you to pack e-cigarettes that contain lithium iron batteries in the hold luggage, and you may therefore have to carry the batteries in your carry-on luggage.

Using e-cigarettes on the plane is not permitted by any airline. Here are the policies from some of the UK and Ireland's largest airlines:

Ryanair does not allow you to use your e-cigarettes on the plane, but you can buy smokeless cigarettes during the flight and use them on board.

EasyJet states that you can take e-cigarettes in your hand luggage or in the hold, but that you cannot use them on the plane.

British Airways sells e-cigarettes on many of its flights, depending on the destination. It does not say anything about using them on the planes, but do not expect to be allowed to do so.

Aer Lingus does not allow the use of e-cigarettes on the plane.

Virgin Atlantic states that you can carry them on board but that you are not permitted to use them.

There are no blanket rules on using e-cigarettes on planes. If an airline does not make its policy on e-cigarettes clear, you can contact them to ask in advance. However, it is safest to assume that you are not permitted to use e-cigarettes on the plane.

e-cigarettes and security

Travelling with e-Cigarettes

As far as travelling with e-cigarettes is concerned, there are a number of things to be aware of. Despite the fact that these devices are popular in the UK, different countries have very different rules on their importation and use. You are advised to always check the rules in advance to avoid any problems.

For example, in Qatar it is illegal to import them. After a British Airways crew member was detained when arriving in the country, British Airways stopped selling e-cigarettes on its flights to certain destinations.

Other countries like Singapore have banned the use of e-cigarettes, and in some places like New York you cannot use them in places where smoking is also prohibited.

If you are allowed to use your electronic cigarettes, check whether you can buy refills while you are overseas. If e-cigarettes are not on sale, you will want to take enough e-liquid with you to last until your return.

Another tip is to carry your e-cigarettes in your carry-on luggage wherever possible. In some countries they are not very common, and if a customs official opens your hold luggage and does not recognise the device, they may confiscate it. If, however, you carry your e-cigarettes in your hand luggage, you can explain what they are when you arrive.

Check the Rules Before You Travel

The problem with e-cigarettes is that there are no specific laws that prevent you from using them in airports and on airplanes. This means travellers are often left uncertain as to where they can use their devices. If you are unsure, the best advice is to always contact the airport and your airline before you travel, as well as researching the rules in your destination country, to avoid any problems.

Page last updated 5th March 2015