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CDC Calls for Greater Smoking Restrictions at Airports

A new CDC report finds that airport authorities and municipalities need to do a better job of restricting smoking in indoor areas at some of busiest international airports around the world.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta found that of the 50 busiest international airports in the world, nearly half prohibit smoking in all indoor areas. Five of the 10 busiest airports on the planet are among those completely smoke-free facilities, but in a new report the agency cites the known dangers of secondhand smoke and urges officials to step up efforts to ban smoking in all indoor areas at all airports.

“There is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke,” the “Smoke-Free Policies in the World’s 50 Busiest Airports” study published in the CDC’s November 24th Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report concludes. “Eliminating smoking in indoor spaces fully protects nonsmokers from exposure to secondhand smoke. An overwhelming majority of large-hub airports in the United States prohibit smoking indoors.”

Ironically, Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL), the busiest airport in the world and the hometown airport of the CDC headquarters, is not among those smoke-free airports. Though ATL and most other airports in North America and Europe that allow indoor smoking require smokers to remain in a specifically designed, isolated and ventilated area, the study’s authors found that such polices do not do enough to protect nonsmokers.

The report notes that air travelers’ health could be greatly improved if indoor policies were more universally implemented. Different regions of the world have drastically different views about indoor smoking and international airports naturally reflect those cultural variations. While ATL allows limited indoor smoking, the second-busiest airport in the world Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK) prohibits all indoor smoking and the third busiest airport by passenger volume, Dubai International Airport (DXB) permits smoking in at least some indoor areas.

“Broader implementation of smoke-free policies at the national, city or airport authority levels can protect employees and travelers of all ages from secondhand smoke inside airports,” the research study found. “While smoke-free airports among the 50 busiest are common in North America (14 of 18), few airports in Asia (4 of 22) have implemented smoke-free polices.”

[Photo: Shutterstock]

Comments are Closed.
daninstl December 12, 2017

I'm not a smoker but it is stupid to not have designed smoking areas inside security. If only a small percentage of passengers smoke it adds greatly to the security lines when they are forced to exit and return again just to have a smoke.between connections. Next time you're in a long security line at the airport look around and figure that a certain percentage of those folks went out to smoke and then take up more minutes of your life than any second hand smoke from a smoking lounge would have.

JHIN December 11, 2017

Yea like NO smoking outside the terminal curbside! I have to walk through a cloud of smoke to enter the terminal. While we are at it how about no smoking in public period? In your house or home or not at all!

KRSW December 10, 2017

I'd gladly take the smokers, even inside the cabins... in exchange for getting the "emotional support animals" OUT of the cabin! I remember the halcyon days when airlines provided actual customer service, smoking sections took up the entire back of the airplane, and flights were still civil.

rjpjr December 9, 2017

Amazing. Second-hand smoke is bad for you - who would have thought it?. That's why smokers have to go to designated smoking areas. Those worried about second-hand smoke should stay away from these areas. Maybe the study could address the health of people who just walk by one. And how about those people who smell like smoke? We need a designated waiting area for them too because I bet those aromas also contain toxic substances. And when you have to sit next to one on board? I smell a lawsuit (pardon the pun) if I feel poorly after that flight!

KenTarmac December 9, 2017

I'm a non-smoker and I'm ok with the current arrangement at ATL. Let them light up in designated areas.