Smoke-Free Policies in the World’s 50 Busiest Airports—August 2017

November 22, 2017 / Vol. 66 / No. 46

MMWR Introduction

CDC assessed smoke-free policies at the world’s 50 busiest airports (airports with the highest number of passengers traveling through an airport in a year). As of August 2017, more than 2.7 billion travelers pass through these 50 airports each year. Among these airports, 23 (46%) completely prohibit smoking indoors, including 5 of the 10 busiest airports. The remaining 27 airports continue to allow smoking in designated smoking areas. Designated or ventilated smoking areas can cause involuntary secondhand smoke exposure among nonsmoking travelers and airport employees. Smoke-free policies at the national, city, or airport authority levels can protect employees and travelers from secondhand smoke inside airports.

The 2006 Surgeon General’s Report concluded that eliminating smoking in indoor spaces fully protects nonsmokers from exposure to secondhand smoke, and that separating smokers from nonsmokers, cleaning the air, and ventilating buildings cannot eliminate exposure of nonsmokers to secondhand smoke.

Although the airports in this analysis that do not have smoke-free policies only allow smoking indoors in designated or ventilated smoking areas, studies have documented that secondhand smoke can transfer from designated smoking areas into nonsmoking areas in airports, where nonsmoking travelers and employees can be exposed. In addition to subjecting nonsmoking travelers who pass through these areas to involuntary secondhand smoke exposure, designated or ventilated smoking areas can also result in involuntary exposure of airport employees who are required to enter these areas or work near them.

MMWR Highlights

Smoke-free policies in the world’s 50 busiest airports, 2017

  • 23 airports (46%) have a smoke-free policy.
  • 27 airports (54%) do not have a smoke-free policy.
  • In North America, 14 of 18 airports (78%) have a smoke-free policy.
  • In Europe, 4 of 9 airports (44%) have a smoke-free policy.
  • In Asia, 4 of 22 airports (18%) have a smoke-free policy.
  • The only airport among the 50 busiest in Oceania has a smoke-free policy (100%).
  • None of the world’s 50 busiest airports are in South America or Africa.

Smoke-free policies in the world’s 10 busiest airports, 2017

  • Five of the world’s 10 busiest airports have a smoke-free policy: Beijing Capital (#2); Los Angeles International (#4); Chicago O’Hare (#6); London Heathrow (#7); and Shanghai Pudong (#9).
  • Five of the world’s 10 busiest airports do not have a smoke-free policy: Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson (#1); Dubai International (#3); Tokyo International (#5); Hong Kong International (#8); and Paris Charles de Gaulle (#10).