Up In Smoke

“The Airline Flight Attendants’ Fight to End Smoking Aloft”

This exhibition is drawn from the Center’s collection of items related to the adverse health impact of exposure to tobacco smoke on commercial aircraft during most of the 20th century, with a focus on the decades-long battle by flight attendants for smoke-free airlines. Highlights of the collection include original advertisements and photographs depicting passengers smoking on airlines, scientific reports on the impact of exposure to secondhand smoke, newspaper and magazine articles, and editorials and political cartoons. Among the original artifacts are airline ashtrays, sample cigarette packs given to passengers, flight attendant instruction manuals, and airport duty-free shop cigarette promotions. This is an online version of the exhibition that was on view at the Louis A. Turpen Aviation Museum and Library at the San Francisco International Airport from September 15, 2004 to March 15, 2005 and was at the Southern Museum of Flight in Birmingham, Alabama From October, 2010 to March, 2011. Additional items from the collection will be periodically uploaded.

The Flight Attendant Medical Research Institute (FAMRI) was formed in 2000 as the result of the settlement of a class action lawsuit brought on behalf of non-smoking flight attendants by Florida attorneys Stanley and Susan Rosenblatt in October 1991 in the Dade County Circuit Court against cigarette manufacturers. The flight attendants sought damages for diseases caused by their long-term exposure to tobacco smoke in airline cabins.

FAMRI sponsors scientific and medical research on the prevention, early detection, and treatment of health problems caused by exposure to tobacco smoke. FAMRI also educates health care providers about diseases related to second-hand smoke.

In the first video clip above, flight attendant Leisa Sudderth, an original board member of FAMRI, describes becoming an activist for smokefree airlines. (01:19)

Symposium and Exhibition – Louis A. Turpen Aviation Museum and Library – 2004

Symposium - Louis A. Turpen Aviation Museum and Library - 2004
Symposium - Louis A. Turpen Aviation Museum and Library - 2004
Symposium - Louis A. Turpen Aviation Museum and Library - 2004
Symposium - Louis A. Turpen Aviation Museum and Library - 2004
Symposium - Louis A. Turpen Aviation Museum and Library - 2004

Flight Attendant Symposium

Louis A. Turpen Aviation Museum
San Francisco Airport Museums
November 30-December 2, 2004

“Up in Smoke: Tobacco and Flight Attendant Health” (10 pages)

Illustrated exhibition guide
Louis A. Turpen Aviation Museum
San Francisco Airport Museums
September 15, 2004-March 15, 2005

“Smoking aloft: an illustrated history” (5 pages)

Article by Alan Blum, MD
Tobacco Control
Volume 13, Supplement, pages 1-4

“Canaries in the Mine” (32 pages)

Interview of airline flight attendants Lani Blissard, Bland Lane, Leisa Sudderth, and Patty Young by Alan Blum, MD
November, 2002

Camel Ad Women prefer

“Of course women prefer them–they’re FRESH!”

Camels cigarettes advertisement
RJ Reynolds Tobacco Co.
Unknown magazine

Lucky Strike Amelia Earhart

“Amelia M. Earhart–first woman to fly the Atlantic by aeroplane”

Lucky Strike cigarettes advertisement
American Tobacco Co.
TIME Magazine

n.d. - cigarette pack - Air Hostess Cigarettes

Air hotesse

Swiss cigarette pack
Ca 1950

Spanish language Ad for Chesterfield featuring a smiling flight attendant en todas partes es Chesterfield

“En todas partes es Chesterfield”

Spanish language retail store advertising poster
Liggett & Myers Tobacco Co.
Ca. 1940

Chesterfield Sound Off ad wm

“CHESTERFIELDS ARE PROVIDED EXCLUSIVELY on all United’s Stratocruiser flights to Honolulu…”

Liggett & Myers Tobacco Co.
The Saturday Evening Post

1958 United Airlines The Executives

“The Airline of ‘The Executives'”

United Airlines advertisement
LIFE Magazine

1957 United Airlines Modern Families

“First choice for family travel”

United Airlines advertisement
LIFE Magazine

“Viceroy’s got the taste that’s right!”

Brown & Williamson Tobacco Co.
LIFE Magazine

A satirical look at the flight attendants’ battle for smoke free airlines

Oliphant Cartoon - Designated Smoking Area

Pat Oliphant
The Saratogian/Tri-County News(Saratoga Springs, New York), page 6A
June 8, 1984

Dave Granlund
Middlesex News

Stayskal Cartoon - No Smoking & Grumbling Section

Wayne Stayskal
Tampa Tribune

Wayne Stayskal
Chicago Tribune, page 22
August 3, 1981

Wayne Stayskal
Tampa Tribune

Wayne Stayskal
Tampa Tribune

Wayne Stayskal - Tampa Tribune - Emergency - 1986

Wayne Stayskal
Tampa Tribune

Koterba Cartoon Airline Smoking Ban 1

Jeff Koterba
Omaha World-Herald (Omaha, Nebraska)

Brookins Cartoon Sen. Helms Supports Smokers Rights 1

Gary Brookins
Richmond Times-Dispatch (Richmond, Virginia)
September 15, 198

Locher Cartoon Praying Smoking 1

Dick Locher
Chicago Tribune

1988 Prigge Cartoon Ripleys Believe It or Else

Milt Priggee
The Spokesman-Review/Spokane Chronicle
March 25, 1988

Excerpt of a film by The Tobacco Institute, ca. 1982, that features actor Michael Conrad (who played a police sergeant in the TV show “Hill Street Blues”) mocking concerns about exposure to tobacco smoke on airplanes. (01:29)

“Winston tastes good–like a cigarette should” (1:04)

Airline-themed television cigarette commercial
Winston cigarettes
RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company
Circa 1962

Unsourced film footage of two men smoking and playing cards on a commercial airplane (00:45)

Circa 1950

Press conference by airline flight attendants demanding that all domestic flights be non-smoking (03:38)

Hosted by John Banzhaf III, Founder, Action on Smoking and Health (ASH)

“The flight attendants are dying and have died from the cigarette smoke they have been exposed to on the job…We are truly hostages at 35,000 feet.”
–Flight attendant Patty Young

Smoking-caused fires on airlines (08:39)

Investigative news story, featuring flight attendants Norma Broin, Mary Ellen Miller, and Patty Young
Reported by Steve Wilson
“Inside Edition”

© Copyright - The Center for the Study of Tobacco and Society