Earlier this week The Independent British Vape Trade Association (IBVTA) and the Irish Vape Venders Association (IVVA) sent the following letter to Ryanair. We are delighted that the policy has now been changed.
The Independent British Vape Trade Association (IBVTA) and the Irish Vape Venders Association (IVVA) are the leading trade associations for the independent vape industry in the UK and Ireland respectively. All our members are free from any control or ownership by the tobacco or pharmaceutical industries.
We note that the Terms and Conditions of your cabin baggage policy were changed on the 10th of August last, and we are seeking clarification on the section ‘’Passengers are prohibited from carrying the following items into either airport security restricted areas or Cabin Baggage or Checked Baggage’’; Section 8.9.1 includes the term ‘’electronic cigarettes’’.
The wording suggests that Ryanair’s policy should take precedence over and above what an airport authority might deem acceptable within their own policy. In the case of Dublin and Cork airports for example, DAA have informed us that their policy on vape devices being carried through airports has not changed. While passengers and the public are not permitted to vape inside terminal buildings, they are permitted to carry their devices and liquids used in the devices through the airport.
In Irish law, for example, section 6.1 (29) of the Airport bye-laws of 2014 (S.I 618 of 2014) already makes provisions about the safety of items brought through the airport. A vaping device itself is benign. When switched off a vaping device poses no risk to either passengers or staff. Airport security already inform customers during security checks that liquids in cabin baggage should be placed in clear plastic bags with their other liquids, and that spare batteries should be in protective cases. This practice is endorsed by both of our associations in our battery safety advice to members and consumers.
Can Ryanair clarify if this policy change is intended to over-ride existing policies by each of the airport authorities of the 33 countries they operate in, and how you intend to enforce it?
2.9 million people in the UK alone have taken steps to reduce or eliminate their smoking by using a vaping device. In total there are at least 15 million vapers across the EU. Ryanair seems to understand and accept the benefits of safer consumption of nicotine, through the prior sales of your own branded products.
In our view, this policy change by Ryanair sends the wrong message to smokers and vapers. In allowing passengers to bring cigarettes on board, but not vape products, it implies that Ryanair considers vaping to be more harmful than or as harmful as smoking. In reality, we know that vaping is at least 95 per cent less harmful than smoking.
Smokers who have switched to vaping rely on their vape devices to prevent them returning to smoking, by banning vape products from Ryanair flights you therefore leave vapers with little choice other than to fly with another airline or fly with Ryanair and potentially run the risk of returning to smoking. If it is the former then Ryanair will potentially lose millions of customers as a direct result of this change in policy.
Given that there are no health grounds to ban vape products on planes, and given that there are already well-established measures and practices in place to prevent accidents, we see no reason for Ryanair to ban vape products in this way, and look forward to the company reversing this change at the earliest opportunity.