Airports Are Too Smoky For Your Health
Nearly 1 in 4 passengers are exposed to cigarette smoke.
Millions of passengers are exposed yearly to secondhand smoke in some of the nation’s largest airports and are at risk of respiratory illnesses, heart attacks and even lung cancer, according to a study conducted by the federal Centers for Disease Control.
No one can smoke anymore on flights (the government put a stop to that in 1990), but because there isn’t a uniform national policy for smoking inside airport, seven of the nation’s largest facilities still allow it in restricted areas. They are: Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta, Dallas Fort Worth International Airport; Denver International Airport; Las Vegas McCarran International Airport, Charlotte Douglas International Airport, Washington Dulles International Airport and Salt Lake City International Airport.
CDC director Thomas Frieden said that restricting smoking to special areas doesn’t do enough to help nonsmokers—both passengers and airport workers–avoid secondhand smoke. “Even ventilated smoking rooms do not eliminate secondhand smoke exposure,” he said. “Eliminating smoking at airports is the only way to fully eliminate exposure for people who pass into and through airports. This is a no-cost, high-impact strategy that will protect millions of people from secondhand smoke while traveling.”
An estimated 88 million Americans are exposed to secondhand smoke in workplaces, vehicles and homes as well as public spaces like airports. Secondhand smoke has been linked to several serious illnesses; experts estimate that it causes 46,000 heart-disease deaths and 3,400 lung-cancer fatalities every year. Children aged 3 to 11 are especially vulnerable to secondhand smoke, which can cause asthma. Incredibly, more than half of all kids in that age group are exposed to secondhand smoke, the CDC says.
Jane Farrell is a senior editor at BettyConfidential.