Nfld. & Labrador

E-cigarette use on Air Labrador flight irks Hopedale mother

A woman from Hopedale says she was appalled when another airplane passenger started puffing away on his e-cigarette mid-flight, while her infant son was on board.
Hopedale resident Nicole Dalley, pictured here with her five-month-old daughter, is raising concerns after witnessing a fellow passenger puffing on an e-cigarette during a recent Air Labrador flight. (Submitted)

A woman from Hopedale says she was appalled when another airplane passenger started puffing on his electronic cigarette, mid-flight.

Nicole Dalley said she was travelling recently on a small Air Labrador plane with her fiancé and her five-month-old, when the incident happened.
Electronic cigarettes are part of a fast-growing industry which is relatively unregulated compared to traditional cigarettes. (Torin Halsey/AP Photo/Wichita Falls Times Record News)

"An older gentleman decided to take out the e-cigarette and have a couple, I guess you would call them hauls," she said.

"I was kind of appalled by it."

E-cigarettes are battery powered devices that use varying types of liquid to create vapour — which can be inhaled to simulate the feeling of smoking a traditional cigarette. A relatively new trend, the health risks and laws related to e-cigarettes are still being debated.

While at first Dalley didn't complain about the man using an e-cigarette on the flight, when she got home and had more time to reflect she decided to let the airline know.

E-cigarettes use bottles of liquid, which can contain nicotine, to create a vapor to simulate the feeling of inhaling cigarette smoke. (The Associated Press)

She said an Air Labrador official told her there are no clear regulations for e-cigarettes on airplanes. Despite that, Dalley thinks it should just be common courtesy to not use one in a confined space with children around.

"Seems like it should be a courtesy," she said. "Not using an e-cig with chemicals in it that hasn't yet been tested or proven to have side effects and so forth." 

"Especially with a baby on board."

Response from Air Labrador

Air Labrador says it has apologized to Dalley for the incident.

In a statement to CBC, the airline wrote: "Air Labrador is working with the regulator to determine the establishment of a policy prohibiting the use of e-cigs or vapour sticks on our flights."

"Any policy that may be put in place in the future will be respectful of the rights of the users and the established rights of fellow passengers."

In the meantime, Dalley thinks e-cigarettes should be treated like regular tobacco products, especially in a small space like an airplane.

"You don't really know what you're taking in and what the side effects are," she said.

"They're kind of relatively new, the information around them is new. and it just seems better to err on the side of caution. Let's not expose people to it in public, because we don't know what it does yet."

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