Secondhand smoke at airports risky, government study says

Secondhand smoke at airports risky, government study says

If your holiday plans include air travel, you might be interested in knowing whether the airports you’ll be spending time in are smoke-free.

A government study released Nov. 20 found air pollution from secondhand smoke that is directly outside designated smoking areas at airports is five times higher than it is in smoke-free airports.

And if you actually sit inside a smoking area, such as a restaurant, bar or smoking room, the risk rises substantially: The pollution level is 23 times higher in these areas than it is in smoke-free airports.

The study, done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, says five of the 29 largest airports in the U.S. have designated smoking areas.

The five 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. Together, they included 15 percent of all U.S. air travel last year, according to the CDC.

“The findings in today’s report further confirm that ventilated smoking rooms and designated smoking area are not effective,” said Tim McAfee, director of CDC office on Smoking and Health in a written statement. “Prohibiting smoking in all indoor areas is the only effective way to fully eliminate exposure to secondhand smoke.

Federal laws ban smoking ion U.S. domestic and international commercial airline flights, but airports aren’t required to be smoke-free.

Secondhand smoke causes heart disease and lung cander in non-smoking adults, sudden infant death syndrome, respiratory problems. ear infections and asthma attacks in infants and children, and even brief exposure can trigger a heart attack, according to the CDC.

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