Health Notes: CDC says air is unhealthy at airports that still have designated smoking areasFlying to Vegas for the holidays? There’s danger in the airport, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.
By: John Lundy, Duluth News Tribune
Flying to Vegas for the holidays?
There’s danger in the airport, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.
In a news release this week, the CDC says that air pollution levels outside of designated smoking areas in airports are five times higher than the levels in smoke-free airports. The CDC study, released Tuesday, also says air pollution levels within those designated smoking areas are 23 times greater than in the smoke-free airports.
The study concentrated on the five largest U.S. airports that still have designated smoking areas, including McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas. The others are Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Washington Dulles International Airport, Denver International Airport and Salt Lake City International Airport.
Last year, those airports were responsible for more than 110 million passenger boardings — about 15 percent of all U.S. travel, the CDC said.
Smoking has been banned on all U.S. domestic and international commercial airline flights since 2000, but no federal policy requires airports to be smoke-free. Smoking is not allowed in Minnesota or Wisconsin airports.
“Research shows that separating smokers from nonsmokers, cleaning the air and ventilating buildings cannot fully eliminate secondhand smoke exposure,” said Brian King, a CDC epidemiologist and co-author of the study, 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.”
Secondhand smoke causes heart disease and lung cancer in nonsmoking adults and sudden infant death syndrome, respiratory problems, ear infections and asthma attacks in infants and children, the CDC news release said.