Airport smoking rooms don’t work
- 1Missouri GASP, St Louis, Missouri, USA
- 2University of Oklahoma, Department of Political Science, Norman, Oklahoma, USA
- Correspondence to: MrMartin Pion President, Missouri GASP, 6 Manor Lane, St Louis, Missouri 63135-1213, USA;
Objectives: To document tobacco industry involvement in thwarting enactment of a smoke-free airport policy at Lambert-St Louis International Airport (Lambert Airport) in the 1990s; and to test whether smoking rooms at Lambert Airport protect non-smokers from exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke (SHS) in adjacent non-smoking areas.
Methods: Tobacco industry document websites were searched for previously secret documents relating to efforts to maintain smoking in Lambert Airport. Testing of SHS contamination in non-smoking areas adjacent to a designated smoking room was conducted at Lambert Airport in 1997–98 and again in 2002. A 1998 comparative test was also performed inside nominally smoke-free Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (Sea-Tac Airport). Tests were performed using either static or active nicotine monitors.
Results: Industry documents show that the tobacco industry promoted the construction of designated smoking rooms as a way to sidetrack efforts to make Lambert Airport entirely non-smoking. Nicotine vapour air monitoring in a non-smoking area of the airport, adjacent to a smoking room located in Terminal C, reveals elevated levels of ambient nicotine vapour in excess of what would be expected in a completely non-smoking environment.
Conclusions: This study shows that airport smoking rooms expose non-smokers in adjacent non-smoking areas to a significant concentration of nicotine vapour from SHS.