Loss of Lautenberg,
Supporter of Airline Smoking Ban
( Irving TX – June 4,
2013 ) The AARC is mourning the loss of Sen. Frank Lautenberg
(D-NJ), whose roots with the American Association for Respiratory Care
run deep because of the airline smoking legislation he sponsored.
The AARC championed a ban of
smoking on airlines back in the late 1980s by enlisting the support
of AARC members across the country, who went out to the nation's airports
to survey the flying public about smoking on commercial airline flights
and their willingness to support a ban. Sixty-four percent of the 33,242
airline passengers surveyed indicated they would support such a ban.
The results of that survey were
released to the nation during Thanksgiving week of 1987. The legislation
was introduced in the Senate by Sen. Lautenberg calling for a smoking
ban on flights of two hours or less. In the House, then Representative
Dick Durbin (D-IL) introduced the bill. It was passed by Congress and
signed into law in 1988.
The Association's survey was
really the only verifiable evidence that members of the public would
support a smoking ban and thus it figured heavily into the passage of
The AARC followed up with a second
survey in 1989 showing 92.8% of nonsmokers and 58.1% of smokers approved
of the law. We again worked with Sen. Lautenberg and Rep. Durbin to
gradually strengthen the law over the years so that now smoking is banned
on all flights originating or ending in the U.S. This initiative inspired
a massive change banning smoking on most airlines worldwide.
“Senator Lautenberg was a champion
for all lung heath. He, along with then Congressman Durbin, partnered
with AARC to bring about the smoking ban on commercial airline flights,”
says Tom Kallstrom, AARC executive director.
Sam Giordano, who was AARC
executive director at the time of the survey and legislation, noted
that the AARC awarded Senator Lautenberg the Hudson Award for Cardiopulmonary
Public Health in 1989 in recognition of his profound contributions to
About the AARC
The American Association for
Respiratory Care is a 52,000 member professional association
of respiratory care professionals. The organization is dedicated to
encouraging and promoting professional excellence, advancing the science
of respiratory care, and serving as an advocate for patients, their
families and the public.
Further information about the AARC and how to become
a respiratory therapist are available at: www.AARC.org
Contact: Sherry Milligan