Study looks at dangers of airport secondhand smoke

Airport No Smoking

Average air pollution levels from secondhand smoke directly outside designated smoking areas in airports are five times higher than levels in smoke-free airports, according to a study by the US-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC said that the study was conducted in five large hub U.S. airports. It also showed that air pollution levels inside designated smoking areas were 23 times higher than levels in smoke-free airports. In the study, designated smoking areas in airports included restaurants, bars, and ventilated smoking rooms.

Five of the 29 largest airports in the United States allow smoking in designated areas that are accessible to the public.

The airports that allow smoking include Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Washington Dulles International Airport, McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, Denver International Airport, and Salt Lake CityInternational Airport. More than 110m passenger boardings–about 15 % of all U.S. air travel–occurred at these five airports last year.

A 2006 Surgeon General’s Report concluded that there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke.

Although smoking was banned on all U.S. domestic and international commercial airline flights through a series of federal laws adopted from 1987 to 2000, no federal policy requires airports to be smoke-free.

For an online version of this MMWR report, visit www.cdc.gov/mmwr

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