25 Years of Smoke-Free Flying

 Updated: April 20, 2017

airline_banAirline Smoking Ban has Roots in the AARC

Twenty-five years ago this month, airline passengers boarding domestic flights of six hours or less were finally assured of a smoke-free environment, as the initial ban on smoking on flights of two hours or less passed by Congress in 1988 was extended to cover longer flights.

What RTs today may not know, however, is that this smoking ban — along with all the other extensions leading up to a total ban on airline smoking initiated in 2000 — has its roots in the respiratory care profession.

The AARC supported the ban back in the late 1980s by enlisting the support of its state societies, who sent their members out to the nation’s airports to survey the flying public about smoking on airplanes and their willingness to support a ban. Sixty-four percent of the 33,242 airline passengers surveyed indicated they would support such a ban.

We followed up with a second survey in 1989 showing 92.8% of nonsmokers and 58.1% of smokers approved of the law, helping to pave the way for the six hour smoking ban implemented in 1990.

This article from the 1989 AARC Times details the results of surveys that respiratory therapists across the country completed in an effort to show Congress the public support that was out there for the ban.