E-cigarettes on planes: legal grey area left up to carriers — calgary — cbc news

For those trying to quit smoking, e cigarettes are being lauded as a less harmful alternative to inhaling thousands of chemicals.

However, deciphering the legal haze around smoking e cigarettes on airplanes is not easy.

  • Nova Scotia cracking down on e cigarettes
  • Are e cigarettes safe to puff?
  • The rise of E cigarettes Helping to quit or encouraging to smoke?

«Under the Non Smoker’s Health Act, and its pursuant regulations, smoking is prohibited on board commercial and charter aircraft for health reasons,» said Transport Canada spokesperson Karine Martel.

«Transport Canada is not aware of any safety risk to the aircraft machinery that would be caused by the vapour from e cigarettes.»

The Non Smoker’s Health Act defines smoking as to smoke, hold or otherwise have control over an ignited tobacco product. However, e cigarettes are neither ignited nor tobacco products.

Instead, they function by electronically vapourizing a liquid, which usually but not always contains nicotine. That mist, which is sometimes flavoured to taste like mint or candy, is then inhaled.

Health Canada has not approved e cigarettes for sale in Canada but has also not legislated any ban against them.

In the same vein, Transport Canada currently does not have any specific rules banning the smoking of e cigarettes on airplanes.

For the time being, it would appear the government is leaving the decision up to individual airlines.

«Air Canada does not permit the use of e cigarettes onboard aircraft,» said airline spokesperson Angela Mah.

However, the airline’s policy regarding carry on baggage does allow e cigarettes onboard «provided they remain stowed and unused.»

WestJet spokesperson Brie Ogle says while the airline typically refers questions regarding e cigarette safety to Transport Canada, it does have a policy saying the devices cannot be operated while onboard.

Ogle says the airline has not yet had any complaints about anyone smoking e cigarettes on flights and are not aware of anyone having tried to do so.

‘No smoke to set off any alarms’

For years, smokers on airplanes have been warned during the flight safety demonstration that smoke detectors in plane bathrooms are installed to detect any cigarette smoke but neither WestJet, Air Canada or Transport Canada would confirm whether they can detect vapour from e cigarettes.

However, Australian e cigarette manufacturer Egar states on their website that the product «only emits harmless water vapour, which will not set off smoke alarms.»

The company claims their product can even be used on planes.

Darren Clark tweeted to CBC Calgary saying he has smoked onboard aircraft without setting off the alarms.

«I’ve done it,» he said. «As long as you’re discrete nobody bothers and there’s always the washroom no smoke to set off any alarms.»

It seems airlines themselves are not entirely sure whether smoke detectors can pick up on e cigarette vapour.

Porter Airlines spokesperson Brad Cicero says he is not aware of whether the airline knows about e cigarettes not setting off smoke detectors.

Ogle also says she did not know for sure whether the devices would set off detectors.

It’s also not clear whether those caught ‘vapeing’ the term e cigarette users use to describe the process of inhaling the vapour would face similar fines to those caught smoking traditional tobacco products while onboard.

Canada leads in aircraft anti smoking rules

In 1994, Canada became the first country to require that its air carriers make all flights domestic and international smoke free.

At that time, the momentum for change came not from passengers but from airline employees.

«Sitting on a long flight having to endure cigarette smoke, while dangerous for passengers, is far more dangerous for flight attendants who have to work in a blue haze,» Donna Hendrick, an airline employee’s union representative, said to CBC News in 1994.

Much of that push was based on discoveries linking cigarette smoke to increased risk of cancer and health effects.

The Calgary Eyeopener‘s medical columnist, Dr. Raj Bhawdwaj, says there’s no clear consensus on whether e cigarettes are safe but their perception as a safer alternative to traditional smoking could undo much of what anti smoking advocates have fought for.

«A lot of people are saying they are allowed to ‘vape’ because they’re not smoking, and the anti tobacco lobby is up in arms about this,» Bhawdwaj said.

«I think part of the solution would be to regulate them not as a drug delivery device but regulate them as a tobacco product which is sort of outside the realm because they’re not tobacco,» he said. «But that’s a huge job.»

What do you think about people being able to smoke e cigarettes on aircraft? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below or tweet us CBCCalgary.

Romance and cigarettes : dvd talk review of the theatrical

Sometimes, I really want a movie to be good, but no matter how much I pull for it to succeed, there’s no way around its failings.

Such is the case with Romance and Cigarettes, the new film written and directed by John Turturro. Who doesn’t like John Turturro? As an actor, he’s been in some excellent films, including Do the Right Thing, Quiz Show, and multiple ventures with the Coen Bros. That brotherly film duo acts as producers on this, Turturro’s third outing as a director, and it smacks of the kind of genre melding high concept they’d go for. Unfortunately, their cohort doesn’t have the same oddball eye that they do.

James Gandolfini plays Nick Murder, an everyday working schlub who lives in a New York suburb with his wife and three daughters. Things are rolling along fine until his wife, Kitty (Susan Sarandon), finds a poem he has written for a woman named Tula (Kate Winslet). Though Nick denies her being his mistress, Kitty sees right through him. After all the time they’ve been together, she knows him too well. Plus, he comes from a long line of «whoremasters.» All the men in his family cheat on their wives.

Tula is a red haired temptress who has Nick’s head turned completely around. She is crude, rude, and completely without boundaries. She works as an underwear saleswoman, but she rarely has need for the product herself or so you would believe from the way she talks. For all of her defenses, Turturro will eventually try to show that there are true feelings underneath the bawdy shell. It’s one of many twists he will try to pull on us before Romance and Cigarettes is through, and it’s only due to Kate Winslet’s immense talent that it comes across. Not all of the twists do.

The main kink Turturro tries to put into the movie is that it’s kind of a musical. Borrowing a technique from the British TV show Blackpool (recently remade for the U.S. as the disastrous Viva Laughlin), the characters often erupt into song a la traditional Hollywood musicals, but with a sub Moulin Rouge conceit. Their singing is inspired by well known recordings from people like Elvis Presley, Dusty Springfield, James Brown, and Engelbert Humperdink, all of which actually play through the scenes. Gandolfini, Sarandon, and the rest all sing over the top of the original. Thus, when Christopher Walken struts in and steals the show as Kitty’s left of center cousin, he is crooning along with Tom Jones and «Delilah.» Jones’ voice is underneath Walken’s, as opposed to Walken singing on his own with the aid of a backing track.

It’s an odd idea, but it is one that the actors are capable of pulling off with the right staging. In the first fifteen minutes, when Gandolfini goes from the car where he’s listening to Humperdink’s «A Man Without Love» and enters into a classic MGM song and dance with the other lonely, disillusioned men of his rundown neighborhood, I actually thought that Romance and Cigarettes had something. It seemed to me that Turturro was using popular music because of its regular appearance in our lives. We hear them so regularly, our favorite songs have become a salve for our bruised emotions, a proxy for the things we can’t express. In this way, the flights of fancy that Nick and Kitty and the rest engage in are a kind of common man version of something Gene Kelley or Judy Garland might have performed in the past.

Unfortunately, that explanation quickly faded. Each succeeding dance number gets more ambitious, but more leaden, dragged down by the weight of that ambition. Outside of Kate Winslet’s underwater performance of particularly a gut wrenching number 2/3 into the picture and a brief snippet of Mandy Moore performing «I Want Candy,» none of the other music scenes work. John Turturro’s direction is too clumsy and too confused. I couldn’t even figure out what era Romance and Cigarettes was supposed to be in. Everyone looks like they are knee deep in the 1980s, but yet there are references to thongs and Tula works for Agent Provocateur. Is there a reason for this? Is it just that the suburbs are frozen in time? I don’t really know. The look of the picture makes about as much sense as the lumpen fantasy sequences that see Nick playing such varied roles as Oedipus and a NYC fire fighter. It’s all unnecessary distraction.

To John Turturro’s credit, Romance and Cigarettes isn’t an excruciating failure. It’s at least an interesting one. I can generally see what he’s going for. The film is also helped along by the fact that he surrounded himself with an amazing cast of actors. James Gandolfini made me forget all about Tony Soprano, and Christopher Walken and Steve Buscemi both run away with the picture in smaller supporting roles (though the top scene of the movie actually belongs to Elaine Stritch as Nick’s mother). Just about everyone is good, excepting Amy Sedaris in a shrill cameo and the usually excellent Mary Louise Parker as one of Nick’s daughters. She completely overdoes everything, perhaps to compensate for the fact that she is playing a part that is far too young for her.

So, again, for all of these wonderful people, I really wanted to like Romance and Cigarettes way more than I did. Unfortunately, the movie never gels. It’s so splintered, in fact, the whole third act feels like it belongs to another film entirely. The dark turn that Turturro tries to take, giving us the cigarettes in opposition to the romance, is on a completely different highway than the one he started out on. Dare I say, though, that the production improves at this point, and I actually think if Turturro had made the whole movie like the latter third, he’d have had a better picture? Even so, it’s not enough. Romance and Cigarettes is too confused a product for me to recommend with any great enthusiasm. Sorry, John, I just didn’t fall in love with it.

Jamie S. Rich is a novelist and comic book writer. He is best known for his collaborations with Joelle Jones, including the hardboiled crime comic book You Have Killed Me, the challenging romance 12 Reasons Why I Love Her, and the 2007 prose novel Have You Seen the Horizon Lately?, for which Jones did the cover. All three were published by Oni Press. His most recent project is the superhero series It Girl and the Atomics and the futuristic romance A Boy and a Girl with Natalie Nourigat. Follow Rich’s blog at

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