Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Airport will soon close all its smoking rooms. At the same time, it wants to help you stop smoking through a free nicotine lozenges.
I’m strongly of the opinion that indoor, airside smoking lounges should remain. While smoking is thankfully declining in the USA and around the world, it remains a legal and prevalent habit. To herd smokers to the curb, forcing them to endure the stress of security lines, just to smoke a cigarette, strikes me as unreasonable. It also clogs security lines for other passengers. Nearly 70% of passengers in Atlanta, a fortress hub for Delta, are connecting.
Furthermore, in my experience indoor smoking bans lead to more second hand smoke, as smokers, even 25 feet away from doors, tend to encounter more passengers than in a specially-ventillated separate room.
But under Atlanta’s new non-smoking ordinance, the airport must go smoke-free indoors on January 02, 2020. Smokers will be forced to exit terminals and smoke curbside during layovers.
In attempt to help travelers who might not have time to smoke, the airport will offer “complimentary nicotine replacement therapy lozenges” to passengers who do not have time for a smoke.
While Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is in full compliance with the City of Atlanta smoking ordinance and the state of Georgia’s Smoke Free Act, we realize that for many passengers, smoking is a part of their daily activity. That is why the airport will make available free, Good Sense branded, FDA approved nicotine replacement therapy lozenges for a limited time. The lozenges can be found at participating concessionaires throughout the domestic and international concourses from January 2-31, 2020.
That’s all fine and good, but Atlanta is exacerbating the smoking problem by moving it out to the curbs.
No one is arguing that people should be able to smoke in terminal restaurants or bars, let alone on airplanes. But offering a designated smoking area on the secure side of the airport is not unreasonable. Quite the contrary, it is unreasonable not to. On busy days, it would not surprise me if people are willing to risk a $200 fine to smoke in restrooms…another unintended consequences of this poorly thought-out non-smoking ordinance.