The US airports have provision for travelers to shop as well as dine, snack or order in cocktails at a bar or lounge area as they travel or await their flights. Most airports have lottery tickets on sale as well as music concerts, play areas for kids and other amenities that are unique. Most major airports in the US also include indoor spaces for smokers to sit back and enjoy a smoke. However, for non smoking advocates the smoking rooms should not be made available for smokers and should be removed.
The federal law that came into force 25 years ago banned smoking on domestic flights across the US. The US Surgeon General, Vice Admiral Vivek Murthy gave a thumbs down to smoking rooms that exist at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. The same sentiment is gathering forces as several anti smoking groups are urging airports like the Salt Lake City International Airport to shut down their smoking rooms and make their new terminals smoke free zones. The Salt Lake City International Airport has come under criticism as this state has laws that do not allow smoking to be done in workplaces as well as public places. Hence, it makes sense that it eliminates all the smoking rooms that exist in its premises.
SLC spokeswoman stated that, the facility to smoke is kept limited only to smokers who are traveling and are awaiting connecting flights at the airport. The lounges are made so that smokers do not venture out to smoke in areas where they are not supposed to be in. The Atlanta airport was built before the 1996 Olympics, which Phillip Morris paid for. The airport currently has twelve smoking rooms or lounges. These are considered amenities and the airport does not have any plans to close them.
The point that favors smoking rooms in airports is that having a smoke free policy will force people to smoke elsewhere which will subject others to second hand smoke. Having designated smoking areas ensure that authorities can enforce no smoking in other areas.
With this logic most airports across US like McCarran International, Denver International, Washington Dulles International and others have indoor smoking spaces designated for the travelers. The airport authorities feel that, by having designated smoking areas, they can prevent smokers from lighting up in other areas which are open to the public or in rest rooms. Recent studies indicate that smoking rooms have declined in the last decade, though air pollution levels tend to be higher in airports with smoking rooms as compared to smoke free zones in other airports.