Airport smoking areas expose travelers, workers to risk: CDC

Airport smoking areas expose travelers, workers to risk: CDC
Ventilating buildings and cleaning the air doesn't eliminate secondhand smoke exposure, study finds.

(HealthDay)—Levels of secondhand smoke outside smoking rooms and other designated smoking areas in airports are five times higher than in smoke-free airports, a new U.S. study finds.

These high levels of secondhand smoke put the health of travelers and airport employees at risk, according to the U.S. researchers who published their findings Nov. 20 in the CDC's .

Their study of five large hub U.S. also found that air pollution levels inside designated smoking areas—such as ventilated smoking rooms, restaurants and bars—were 23 times higher than in airports that were completely smoke-free.

The findings "further confirm that ventilated smoking rooms and designated smoking areas are not effective," Dr. Tim McAfee, director of CDC's Office on Smoking and Health, said in an agency news release. "Prohibiting smoking in all indoor areas is the only effective way to fully eliminate exposure to secondhand smoke."

Five of the 29 largest U.S. airports allow smoking in designated areas that are accessible to the public. The airports are: Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Washington Dulles International Airport, McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, Denver International Airport and Salt Lake City International Airport.

In 2011, about 15 percent of all U.S. air travel took place at these five airports, accounting for more than 110 million passenger boardings, the CDC authors noted.

Smoking is banned on all U.S. domestic and international commercial airline flights, but no federal law requires airports to be smoke-free.

"Instead of going entirely smoke-free, five airports continue to allow smoking in restaurants, bars or ventilated smoking rooms. However, research shows that separating smokers from nonsmokers, cleaning the air and ventilating buildings cannot fully eliminate ," report co-author Brian King, an epidemiologist with CDC's Office on and Health, said in the news release.

"People who spend time in, pass by, clean or work near these rooms are at risk of exposure to secondhand smoke," King added.

There is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke, according to a 2006 U.S. Surgeon General's report. The effects of include heart disease and lung cancer in nonsmoking adults, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), respiratory problems, ear infections and asthma attacks in infants and children.

More information: The American Lung Association has more about secondhand smoke.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Secondhand smoke a toxic in California

Jan 27, 2006

The Air Resources Board in California has designated secondhand tobacco smoke as a toxic air contaminant -- making California the first state to do so.

Recommended for you

Influence of migration on health

20 minutes ago

Migration has a significant influence on the health sector, including in Austria. The healthcare sector faces challenges due to migrants' different social status, background and gender, as Christine Binder-Fritz ...

Uruguay begins registering marijuana growers

8 hours ago

Just a handful of people had registered by midday Wednesday to be private growers of marijuana in Uruguay, the first country to fully legalize the production, sale and distribution of the drug.

Tracking spending among the commercially insured

18 hours ago

Recent growth in health care spending for commercially insured individuals is due primarily to increases in prices for medical services, rather than increased use, according to a new study led by researchers at The Dartmouth ...

User comments