More airports make smokers go outside to light up

Andrew Mollenbeck,

WASHINGTON – A growing number of airports are making smokers take it outside.

Denver International Airport, which currently has multiple smoking lounges, is the latest to announce plans to remodel, sending smokers to the curb.

All but one lounge is scheduled to close by the end of the year. The lone remaining smoker sanctuary appears to have a limited shelf life.

“I think that Denver is going to be able to show some leadership to those hubs in Dulles and [Atlanta] Hartsfield,” says Cynthia Hallett, the executive director of Americans for Nonsmokers Rights.

“We have been seeing the trend toward smoke-free air not only at the city and state level but certainly in these specific airports moving rather quickly.”

Going smoke-free has been a tougher sell for major international hubs.

Some passengers, not wanting exit the airport, say they even book flights based on which airports offer smoking lounges during their layovers.

“Because of the security now, it’s such a pain in the neck to get back in,” says a passenger who was catching a flight at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.

Still, 27 of the 35 busiest U.S. airports have banned indoor smoking, according to the anti-smoking group.

“I think there’s an expectation,” Hallett says. “People get off their smoke-free flights and they want to then walk through a smoke-free airport.”

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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