CDC: Fewer Than Half of World’s Busiest Airports Are Smoke-Free

Atlanta-Hartsfield Jackson International Airport in Georgia

By Anna Breuer on 23 November 2017
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An overwhelming majority of the world’s busiest airports continue to offer smoking areas to travelers and employees, putting millions of other travelers as well as airport workers at risk for second-hand smoke exposure.

The findings were published in a report from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, “Smoke-Free Policies in the World’s 50 Busiest Airports,” published on Wednesday.

The report found that, as of August 2017, more than half of the world’s 50 busiest airport, 27 to be precise, still allow smoking in certain areas. Only 23 were smoke-free.

Out of the 20 busiest, 65%, or 13, continue to offer passengers access to smoking lounges.

The airports that do have smoking lounges do not allow smoking in areas other than the designated smoking lounges, but that doesn’t eliminate second-hand smoke exposure to non-smoking travelers and airport workers.

A report issued in 2012 by the CDC found that ventilated rooms and designated smoking areas in airports are not effective at eliminating the risks associated with secondhand smoke exposure.

“The Surgeon General has concluded there is no risk-free level of secondhand smoke exposure,” said Corinne Graffunder, who heads up the CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health. “Even brief exposure can have health consequences.”

The world’s busiest airport by passenger traffic, Atlanta-Hartsfield Jackson International, does not have an indoor smoke-free policy. The only other U.S. airport in the top 20 that does not have such a policy is Denver International. Meanwhile, Los Angeles International (number four on the list), O’Hare International (number six), Dallas/Forth Worth International Airport (11), and John F. Kennedy International (16) airports all have indoor smoke-free policies, as do Beijing Capital International (2), Heathrow (7), and Shanghai Pudong International (9) airports.

Those with smoking lounges include Tokyo International Airport (number five), Hong Kong International Airport (8), Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (10), Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (12), Frankfurt Airport (13), Istanbul Atatürk Airport (14), Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport (15), Singapore Changi Airport (17), Seoul Incheon International Airport (19), and Suvarnabhumi/New Bangkok International Airport (20).

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

Accura News

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