Do any airlines still allow smoking on-board international flights, or is this something that has been banned across the board everywhere? If this is because of fire hazard regulations, what about e-cigarettes?

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    funnily, even though smoking is banned on US flights by the FAA, by law, all airplane lavatories still have to have an ash-tray. It's a very interesting read: standalone-sysadmin.com/blog/2012/05/engineeringinfrastructures
    – Mark Mayo
    Commented May 22, 2012 at 6:19
  • ^ I've always wondered why that is so! In fact, that's one of the things that made me ask this question. Commented May 22, 2012 at 9:17
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    If people want to fly on an airplane which allows smoking, why shouldn't they be able to? Cigarettes are not illegal and are heavily taxed as well. If cigarette smokers want to fly on a passenger plane which allows them to smoke, anywhere in the world, why shouldn't an airline be able to serve them if it wants to? That's freedom of choice isn't it?
    – user13695
    Commented May 14, 2014 at 12:24
  • @AnkurBanerjee Interesting question. How come we still don't have an accurate answer for e-cigarettes? Commented May 15, 2014 at 1:11
  • The flights I have been on recently did mention that the ban on smoking does include e-cigarettes. But that is just the one company. I was hoping for a new list with the updated link to the chart in the accepted answer, but alas, it is still for 2003.
    – Willeke
    Commented Jan 24, 2016 at 11:00

5 Answers 5


I believe this chart will be of use to you.

I used to wonder why they even bothered to have "No smoking" signs, but now I realise - Air Algeria, Cubana, Garuda, Iran Air and more still allow smoking in certain sections.

The chart is quite old, but my friend flew Cubana at the end of 2010 and confirmed that there was smoking onboard his flight then.

According to Answers.com:

1979: Cigars and Pipes banned on aircraft 1988: Smoking banned on US Domestic flights under 2 hours 1990: Smoking banned on US Domestic flights under 6 hours 1998: Smoking banned on all US Domestic flights 2000: Federal law introduced banning smoking on all flights by US airlines.

I can't seem to find any information about when it was banned in the UK, other than the mid 1990s.

There is no overall law or treaty that bans smoking on all international flights. See related links for information about which countries (most of them) have banned smoking on aircraft departing from their airports.

The Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) is the world's first public health treaty. The FCTC entered into force on 27 February 2005. The FCTC contains different measures designed to reduce the devastating impact of tobacco on health and economics. As of January 2009, 168 countries have signed the treaty, and 161 countries have ratified the treaty, becoming Parties to the FCTC.

Nosmoke.org recognises that 2010 marked the 20 year Anniversary of smokefree U.S. domestic flights, and the ten year anniversary of smokefree flights in and out of the United States.

And according to the New York Times, smoking was ALWAYS permitted on the Concorde.

In addition, several flyertalk forums refer to attempts to start smokers-only airlines, although these ideas seem to largely have been all hot air, gone up in smoke, or flamed out...

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    Last week I noticed for the first time the non-smoking sign being replaced by a no-electronic devices sign. This was on a KLM flight on one of their new embraers
    – user141
    Commented Jan 30, 2012 at 23:05
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    oh wow, not seen that before. Sign of the times, makes sense.
    – Mark Mayo
    Commented Jan 30, 2012 at 23:20
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    Seems outdated to me. It's marked 'updated July 15, 2003'. For instance, 'Indian Airlines' doesn't even exist by that name any more (and certainly doesn't allow smoking in its new avatar Air India, AFAIK). Commented Jan 31, 2012 at 0:01
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    afaik Garuda no longer allows smoking either, at least on international flights.
    – jwenting
    Commented Jan 31, 2012 at 6:38
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    Or domestic flights. That chart is way out of date... Commented Apr 3, 2012 at 1:42

Even if the airline permits it, local airspace laws may not. For example, Australian federal law makes it a criminal offence to smoke in any aircraft while flying in or through Australian airspace. It is also a criminal offence to disregard an instruction from flight crew (such as being asked to not to smoke or use an nicotine inhaler or electronic cigarette). You may find your one act ends up breaking several laws.

In addition, some countries have treaties which ban smoking on flights between those two countries. Again for example, it is illegal to smoke at any time on any flight between Australia and the United States, and if you do you may find law enforcement waiting for you at your destination.


For me as a flight attendant, my biggest concerns is not about the cigarette. But the smoke. Fire is on the top of the hazard list. And we identify it by the smoke (and the scent). We are trained to spot smoke, identify the source and to drop everything to handle it immediately. So its not about the nicotine

I just have to say it again one more time, any kind of smoke requires the crew to check and ensure that its not a hazard. Fire is a life threatening hazard that can be identify by the smoke. So forbidding e-cigarettes is not about the nicotine. Its about the smoke you will produce :)

Edit: I just found out about smokeless cigarette... To be honest, I have no idea about this one. I imagine if one passenger told me about it I wouldn't know what to do to keep the policy on.


An e-mail from IATA revealed that not a single IATA airline allows smoking any longer. The last one to allow it, Cubana, banned it in 2014.


EDIT: The quoted article dates back 2009. As e-cigarettes become more popular, this answer may be less acurate.

Electronic cigarette might be an option on some non-smoking non-US flights. The best is to ask to cabin members:

Flight attendant: Would you like something to drink?

Me: Yes, I would like apple juice, and may I ask you a question?

Flight attendant: Sure

Me: Is it OK if I use my nicotine inhaler on the plane? [I then show them my pen-style e cig]

Flight attendant: Nicotine inhaler? I don’t know. What is that?

Me: It’s a source of nicotine for smokers similar to nicotine gum or the nicotine patch. It is completely legal on airplanes and not affected by smoking bans, but I always ask because sometimes when I exhale a mist may come out of my nose and mouth and I don’t want other people to think that I am smoking. The mist is just water vapor that delivers nicotine to my lungs. May I show you what I am talking about?

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    To say that it is a nicotine inhaler is wrong, very wrong! It is an e-cigarette if you exhale vapour/mist. An inhaler means you INHALE NOT EXHALE! Do not think you can get round the naive passengers/crew who have not researched these matters. After all an asthma inhaler does not produce vapour/mist as it is an INHALER. An e-cigarette should be banned on flights, they can explode. Have you heard of an asthma INHALER explode?
    – user13994
    Commented May 25, 2014 at 15:41
  • @CathyB - What is you point?
    – mouviciel
    Commented May 25, 2014 at 19:22
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    @CathyB Laptops can explode too, so they should be banned! Commented May 25, 2014 at 21:16
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    If the mist delivers nicotine to your lungs, then, after you exhale it, it must also deliver nicotine to everyone else's lungs as well. Or do you think the nicotine magically disappears when the water evaporates? Commented Aug 26, 2015 at 11:38
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    Several years later, e-cigarettes are now prohibited from use on all major US carriers. Note also that they must be packed in carry-on baggage, as they contain lithium batteries and cannot travel in the cargo hold for safety reasons. Commented Mar 23, 2020 at 11:55

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