Say Goodbye To Smoking Lounges In US Airports

A handful of US airports still have designated indoor smoking lounges, but not for much longer.

After an air quality study by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at five major American airports with smoking lounges found that limiting smoking to designated lounges doesn’t eliminate non-smoker exposure to second-hand smoke, the few airports left are re-thinking keeping their smoker’s lounges open, reports MSN.

According to Time, the five major airports that still have indoor smoking are Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Washington Dulles International Airport, McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, Denver International and Salt Lake City International Airport, and they account for 15% of all US air travel.

In 2002, only 13 of the nation’s largest airports went completely smoke-free, but the American Nonsmoker’s Rights Foundation says that as of January 2013 (now), 29 of the nation’s top 35 airports are completely smoke-free indoors.

Though federal law prohibits smoking on domestic and international flights, there is no such law in place preventing people from smoking in airports. This has caused some tobacco producers to push back against banning smoking in airports completely.

Philip Morris International said in a statement that “a balance should be struck. . . between the desire to protect non-smokers, especially minors, from exposure to second-hand smoke, and allowing the millions of people who smoke to do so in some public places.”

“Smoking is still legal in this country,” notes a 2012 Denver Post editorial that criticizes the closing of airport smoking lounges. “Asking smokers to go for hours at a time — longer if there are delays and layovers involved — strikes us as punitive.”