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Smoking Restrictions in U.S. Large-Hub Airports—United States, 2002 and 2010

November 19, 2010 / Vol. 59 / No. 45


MMWR Highlights

Smoking Still Permitted

  • In 2010, seven large-hub U.S. airports still allowed smoking in certain indoor locations:
    • Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (Atlanta, Georgia)*
    • Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (Dallas, Texas)*
    • Denver International Airport (Denver, Colorado)*
    • McCarran International Airport (Las Vegas, Nevada)
    • Charlotte/Douglas International Airport (Charlotte, North Carolina)
    • Washington Dulles International Airport (Metropolitan D.C. area)
    • Salt Lake City International Airport (Salt Lake City, Utah)
    • *Ranked among the top five U.S. airports in passenger boardings.


  • Together, the seven airports that allow smoking accounted for approximately 22% of total passenger boardings in 2009.
  • Approximately 151 million boardings took place in 2009 at the seven airports where smoking is currently allowed indoors, putting air travelers and workers at risk of being exposed to secondhand smoke.


Comparing 2002 and 2010


 

Smoke-Free Indoors

  • In 2002, 31 U.S. airports were classified as large hub; 13 of the 31 (42%) were smoke-free indoors.
  • In 2010, 29 U.S. airports were classified as large hub; 22 of the 29 (76%) were smoke-free indoors.

Outdoor Smoking

  • In 2002, 68% of large-hub airports had designated outdoor smoking areas.
  • In 2010, 79% of large-hub airports had designated outdoor smoking areas.

Minimum Distance

  • In 2002, 61% of airports required smokers to be a minimum distance from airport entrances.
  • In 2010, 69% of airports required smokers to be a minimum distance from airport entrances.

Complete Prohibition

  • In 2002 and in 2009, none of the large-hub airports reported completely prohibiting smoking on airport property.

Health Effects and Ventilation

  • Secondhand smoke exposure causes death and disease in both nonsmoking adults and children.
  • There is no safe level of exposure.
  • Separately enclosed and ventilated smoking rooms are not effective in completely eliminating secondhand smoke exposure.
  • Air travelers and employees at airports are also at risk for exposure when entering or exiting an airport; nicotine concentrations adjacent to outdoor smoking areas at airports can be as high as those in some smokers' homes.


Background

  • The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration defines large-hub airports as those that account for 1% or more of total passenger boardings within the United States the previous calendar year.
  • Large-hub airports accounted for approximately 70% of total passenger boardings in 2009.


 
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