Ryanair sells ‘smokeless’ cigarettes on board all its flights

Friday, October 2, 2009, 21:03 by Jose Philip

Ryanair, the budget airline based in Dublin, Ireland, has started letting smokers have their intake of nicotine on board by “inhaling” smokeless cigarettes.

Electronic cigarettes on-board Ryanair flights

Electronic cigarettes on-board Ryanair flights

These special cigarettes, which “look and feel” like a real cigarette, give the smoker a small quantity of nicotine directly via inhalation.

The so-called ‘clean’ cigarettes, which need not be lit and so no law is violated, are available on all flights of Ryanair, including the flights throughout Europe and North Africa.

Smoking was banned on all commercial flights in the 1990s.

The smokeless cigarettes are usually electronic cigarettes containing a small nicotine capsule which releases a nicotine vapour, satisfying the smoker’s addiction to nicotine. The Ryanair a pack of 10 cigarettes costing 6 euros (nearly $9) are available in-flight to passengers aged over 18, Ryanair, known for its offbeat ways, said a statement.

These smokeless cigarettes contain no toxins or chemicals and are harmless to both the users and to those around, the statement added. There is nothing burning, so there is no smoke. Electronic cigarette manufacturers claim that due to the absence of any combustion, they are much less harmful than normal cigarettes.

Stephen McNamara, an official of Ryanair, elaborated in the statement that the smoke-free cigarettes, besides not causing any discomfort to fellow passengers, also ensure a stress-free and more enjoyable flight for all passengers since non-smokers “will not have to cope with moody smokers in need of nicotine.”

In a survey held recently, according to the airline, over 24,000 passengers of Ryanair said that they would like to smoke while on board.

The media quoted Ryanair, which is the biggest low-cost airline in Europe, as explaining that the introduction of the smokeless cigarettes would be of great help to smokers who won’t have to worry about long flights without having their nicotine.

However, the British newspaper The Daily Mail reported that a few people who tried the smokeless cigarettes were “not impressed” by the “substitute” because the smokeless cigarette did not give them the same feeling of smoking a real cigarette. However, one passenger said she felt it “comforting” to hold a smokeless cigarette in her hands during the flight.

Ryanair has introduced a number of innovative, rather eccentric, promotions.  In November 2008, the carrier announced that it was selling tickets for flights between Europe and the United States for as low as 10 euros (about $13). The maverick airline has also announced that it was planning to charge the passengers for using the toilet during the flight.

Aviation analysts say that Ryanair makes a large portion of its money from selling products on board.