“This is the future,” said Duncan Hunter, a Californian Republican in the House of Representatives, who opposes the ban.
“Smoking is going away, and the ability to take in nicotine or any other form of medication in the future will be in something like a vaporiser.”
Hunter told the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee how vaping helped him and others to quit smoking.
“For freedom’s sake and for the sake of people that are trying to quit smoking and quit dipping and still have nicotine, I would urge my friends and colleagues to oppose this amendment,” he said.
However, Hunter’s dramatic argument – which can be seen on YouTube – failed.
Introduced by Eleanor Holmes Norton, a Democrat representing Washington, DC, the amendment drew support from eight Republicans and won approval.
Norton later described Hunter’s vaping as a “stunt”, noting that a fellow Republican of Hunter who ended up with e-cig aerosol in her face voted in favour of the amendment.
In arguing for the 25-year-old ban on smoking on planes to be extended to electronic cigarettes, Norton said vaping would be both a health risk and a nuisance in such a confined space.
Norton’s amendment was attached to a bill that is built around sweeping changes to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA); the committee approved the bill, sending it on to what could be an uncertain future.
– Jim Myers ECigIntelligence Washington correspondent