Fire risk of electronic cigarettes in checked baggage on board an aircraft

The purpose of this safety advisory is to advise air operators, passengers and crew of the risks involved in transporting electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) in checked baggage on board an aircraft.

The definition of electronic cigarettes

E-cigarettes, personal vaporizers or electronic nicotine delivery systems are battery-powered devices that simulate smoking by producing a heated vapour which resembles smoke. The devices have a heating element to vaporize a liquid nicotine solution or dry herbs. They are composed of three main parts:

  • a lithium ion battery
  • an e-cigarette cartridge (which may contain nicotine, flavour, fragrance and/or other contents)
  • an atomizer (a device that turns the nicotine solution into a fine mist or vapour)

The reasons for precautions

E-cigarettes are being carried by passengers in increasing numbers. Several incidents have been reported involving e-cigarettes overheating through the accidental activation of their heating elements resulting in fires in checked baggage.

For this reason, Transport Canada is advising air operators, passengers and crew of this safety risk and requires that e-cigarettes be carried in the cabin, where an incident can be immediately mitigated, and not in checked baggage.

Measures to be taken by the air operators and passengers

Spare batteries are permitted but must also be carried in carry-on baggage.  Each spare battery must be individually protected so as to prevent short circuits (by placement in original retail packaging or by otherwise insulating terminals, for example by taping over exposed terminals or placing each battery in a separate plastic bag or protective pouch).

Finally, e-cigarettes and/or batteries must not be recharged on board the aircraft, and measures must be respected by the air operators and the passengers to prevent unintentional activation of the heating element while on board the aircraft. 

For more information, please visit the Transportation of dangerous goods Program website or contact a Transport Canada dangerous goods inspector in your region:


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