While all domestic airline flights are smokefree, ANR has noticed an increasing-and alarming-trend at airports throughout the country. Once travelers step off their smokefree flight, they're greeted by noxious secondhand smoke.

It's not just a coincidence. The tobacco industry has launched an assault on your right to breathe smokefree air in airports.

According to the tobacco industry's own internal documents, Big Tobacco has targeted smokefree airports across the country to build smoking lounges, and they're fighting to keep airports from becoming smokefree!

On November 20, 2012, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a report in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, titled "Indoor Air Quality at Nine Large-Hub Airports With and Without Designated Smoking Areas- United States, October-November 2012." It found that ventilated rooms and designated smoking areas in airports are not effective in fully eliminating exposure to secondhand smoke. The air pollution inside the smoking areas was 23 times higher than levels in smokefree airports, and that the air pollution levels from secondhand smoke outside the smoking areas were five times higher than levels in smokefree airports.

smokefree sign at Minneapolis St. Paul airport

A previous CDC report in November 2010 found that most large U.S. airports were smokefree thanks in large part to local and statewide smokefree laws and airport authority policies. However, the study, “Smoking Restrictions in Large-Hub Airports – United States, 2002-2010,” also shows that millions of passengers and thousands of airport workers are still being needlessly exposed to serious health hazards because of the ongoing indoor smoking in a handful of major hub airports.

Just as flight attendants deserve smokefree workplace in the sky, airport and flight crews deserve the right to breathe smokefree air too, and shouldn’t have to choose between their health and a paycheck.

But take heart. With the help of our members and friends, we're prepared to hold the line against this assault on your right to breathe smokefree air! With more and more municipalities enjoying smokefree air, it's only a matter of time that these protections extend to airports.


American Cancer Society - Smoke Free DIA PSA 1

Denver International Airport Smoking Lounge


Smokefree sign posted in the jetways of Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (Austin, Texas).


Smokefree News | Related Research

US lawmakers urge ban on e-cigarettes on airplanes
Chicago Tribune (blog) - June 11, 2014

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - E-cigarette use should be banned on domestic flights and those to or from the United States, seven U.S. senators said on Tuesday in a letter urging the Department of Transportation to finalize rules proposed almost three years ago...

Indy airport board bans e-cigarettes - March 21, 2014

1 hour ago - INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Indianapolis Airport Authority on Friday amended its ... the buildings and vehicles owned by the Indianapolis International Airport. The airport had already banned the use of traditional cigarettes, ...

Use of e-cigarettes prohibited at Indianapolis International Airport
Fox 59 ?- March 21, 2014

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (March 21, 2014)—An expanded smoking ordinance approved by the Indianapolis Airport Authority Board of Directors will ...

Smoking may be banned on Airport campus
WALB-TV - March 15, 2013

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Smokers may soon have to put out their cigarettes before they even get to the parking lot at Albany's airport. Southwest Georgia Regional Airport is considering a ban on smoking anywhere on its property. The airport director and other officials will discuss the proposed ban during the aviation commission meeting next week. But not everyone's thrilled about the potential changes. Smoking is already prohibited inside airport terminal, but policy makers are discussing the benefits of an outdoor ban as well. If the proposal passes, no one will be able to smoke anywhere on the airport's property. …

Most major US airports that allow smoking won't kick the habit – January 18, 2013

Smoking is still allowed in specific areas at the five major U.S. airports detailed in a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that showed air pollution levels that are significantly higher than those at non-smoking airports. … "In general, smoking is limited to a handful of hub airports," said Bronson Frick, associate director of Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights. "The list is pretty small. Ten years ago, smoke-free airports were something of an anomaly." …

Only one smoking lounge remains open at Denver International Airport; 3 closed in 2012
The Denver Channel – January 14, 2013

DENVER - Three smoking lounges at Denver International Airport closed in 2012. … According to a news release from Denver International Airport, the American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation says 27 of the top 35 U.S. airports are 100 percent smoke-free indoors. …

CDC Study Pinpoints Airport Smoking Areas' Pollution Levels
Occupational Health and Safety - November 26, 2012

…People passing by, cleaning, or working near designated smoking areas in five large U.S. airports are exposed to secondhand smoke, according to the study. …

Flying Over the Holidays? Secondhand Smoke Still Poses Health Risk at Some Airports
TIME Magazine - November 21, 2012

But according to a new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Protection (CDC), even those steps can expose those passing by to unwanted second-hand smoke. Just outside those smoking areas, average air pollution levels caused by secondhand smoke …

No butts about it: Fewer US airports allow smoking
USA TODAY - June 5, 2012

... According to the American Nonsmokers' Rights Foundation, indoor smoking is completely banned at 27 of the 35 busiest US airports. ...

Denver International Airport to phase out indoor smoking, May 18, 2012

Denver International Airport is on its way to becoming smoke-free. ... "The smoking rooms and ventilation systems don't protect people from the effects of second-hand smoke," Bronson Frick, associate director for Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights said. "This is about everyone's right to breathe clean-indoor air." As of April, 27 of the top 35 U.S. airports are 100 percent smoke-free indoors, according to the American Non-Smokers Rights Foundation. ...

Fate of airport smoking lounges a community matter
CNN International, March 25, 2011

… But ventilation systems do not eliminate the hazards of second-hand smoke, a 2006 Surgeon General's report found, leading public health advocacy groups to support a zero tolerance policy.

"We're optimistic that the trend is still going toward 100% smoke free, like the airlines. The question is who will be the last?" said Cynthia Hallet, executive director of Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights, a California-based lobbying group. "The bottom line is this is a health issue. We know what smoking and second-hand smoke can do to us, and the safest policy is a smoke-free policy."

Hallet said she would like to "see some leadership" on the issue from the nation's busiest airport. Instead, Atlanta's airport takes the lead in the number of airport smoking lounges, 11 spread out over 6 concourses, in the name of customer service. …

SFO bans solicitors at airport, cuts down on smoking sites
San Francisco Examiner - Will Reisman - March 2, 2011

SFO has moved to ban solicitation and also made it more difficult for smokers to light up at the airport.

Separate proposals to outlaw solicitation and ban smoking at outdoor sections of the hub were passed unanimously Tuesday by the San Francisco Airport Commission. ...

Use of e-cigs not allowed on US flights
The State, Fri, Feb 11, 2011

RICHMOND, Va. — The U.S. Department of Transportation says the use of smokeless electronic cigarettes on airplanes is prohibited and plans to issue an official ban this spring, according to a letter from Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood obtained by The Associated Press.

In the letter to Sen. Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey, LaHood said the department has been informing airlines and the public that it interprets smoking regulations to include e-cigarettes. Lautenberg, who wrote the 1987 law that banned smoking on airplanes, had asked transportation officials to clarify the rule.

E-cigarettes are plastic and metal devices that heat a liquid nicotine solution in a disposable cartridge, creating vapor that the "smoker" inhales. A tiny light on the tip even glows like a real cigarette. They have prompted debate over how risky they are and whether they're even legal ...

CDC: Air Travelers at Risk From Secondhand Smoke - Stephanie Pappas - November 18, 2010

Overenthusiastic Transportation Security Administration pat-downs aren't your only travel worry this holiday season, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A new report by the agency finds that one in four of the largest U.S. airports still allows smoking indoors, potentially exposing travelers and workers to disease-causing secondhand smoke.

The findings, published today in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, reveal an unnecessary risk, according to CDC director Thomas Friedan. Secondhand smoke has been linked to heart attacks, lung cancer and asthma attacks, among other ailments. [Read: How Bad is Secondhand Smoke?]

"Every year, millions of people who travel through and work at these airports are unnecessarily exposed to secondhand smoke," Friedan said in a statement. "Even ventilated smoking rooms do not eliminate secondhand smoke exposure. Eliminating smoking at airports is the only way to fully eliminate exposure." ...

CDC: seven large airports still allow indoor smoking
USA Today - Roger Yu - November 18, 2010

Seven of the largest U.S. airports still allow smoking indoors, exposing travelers to secondhand smoke, says a new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The study cites the following large airports that allow smoking in designated smoking rooms, bars or airline clubs: Atlanta, Dallas-Fort Worth, Denver, Las Vegas, Charlotte, Washington Dulles and Salt Lake City. The airports account for about 22% U.S. passenger boardings.

"Every year, millions of people who travel through and work at these airports are unnecessarily exposed to secondhand smoke," says CDC Director Thomas Frieden in a statement, released in part to promote the Great American Smokeout day on Thursday. "Even ventilated smoking rooms do not eliminate secondhand smoke exposure. Eliminating smoking at airports is the only way to fully eliminate exposure for people who pass into and through airports." ...

Report calls out McCarran as more airports go smoke-free
Las Vegas Sun - Richard N. Velotta - November 18, 2010

A report issued today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns of the dangers of second-hand smoke at public airports and calls attention to McCarran International Airport as one of seven large-hub airports that have indoor smoking areas.

The report says there are more smoke-free airports today than the last time the CDC did a similar report in 2002. Of the 29 largest airports, 22 of them, 76 percent, are smoke-free. In 2002, when the agency studied 31 airports, 13 of them – 42 percent – did not allow smoking.

The report also said 23 of 29 airports have designated outdoor smoking areas compared with 21 of 31 in 2002. Twenty of 29 airports require smokers to be a minimum distance from entrances to airport buildings today while 19 of 31 had that requirement in 2002. ...

Smokefree News | Related Research
Stillman, F.A.; Soong, A.; Kleb, C.; Grant, A.; Navas-Acien, A.,
"A review of smoking policies in airports around the world," Tobacco Control [Epub ahead of print], March 17, 2014.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Indoor air quality at nine large-hub airports with and without designated smoking areas – United State, October-November 2012," Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 61(46): 948-951, November 23, 2012.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Smoking Restrictions in Large-Hub Airports: United States, 2002 and 2010," Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), 59(45): 1484-1487, November 19, 2010.

Lee, K.; Hahn, E.J.; Robertson, H.E.; Whitten, L.; Jones, L.K.; Zahn, B., "Air quality in and around airport enclosed smoking rooms," Nicotine and Tobacco Research [Epub ahead of print], April 21, 2010.
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