Airline Smoking Ban
- In the face of mounting evidence of the harmful effects of smoking in confined spaces, the airlines failed to protect the health and safety of passengers and crew. The airlines’ approach—designated smoking and non-smoking sections—did not reduce exposure to tobacco smoke.
- In the 1980s, several studies linked lung cancer and other diseases in non-smokers to exposure to tobacco smoke. Led by Patty Young, a group of flight attendants lobbied Congress for nearly two decades to end smoking on commercial aircraft. Although fiercely opposed by the tobacco industry and most airlines, a federal smoking ban on domestic flights of less than two hours went into effect on January 1, 1988. The popularity of this measure intensified the focus on smoking as an occupational health hazard and a danger for children and other non-smokers. Congress extended the airline smoking ban to all domestic flights under six hours in 1990 and to all domestic and international flights in 2000.