Upcoming Legislative Bill Aims to Outlaw Smoking in the Salt Lake City Airport

Jan. 18, 2016
The bill aims to remove all five of the airports indoor smoking lounges, a move that the majority of nationwide airports has already done.

As reported on the Las Vegas Sun, a bill is in the works that would outlaw smoking lounges at the Salt Lake City airport. The bill is being brought forth by Sen. Evan Vickers, a Republican from Cedar City who is also a pharmacist, who said that he often smells smoke in the airport. The lounges "seem not to work as well as they like," Vickers said in a quote to The Salt Lake Tribune.

The Salt Lake City International Airport is equipped with five smoking lounges, which have been outfitted with ventilation systems designed to filter smoke outside the building.

Airport spokeswoman Nancy Volmer says these spaces help reduce the number of people smoking at airport entrances and thus visitors' intake of secondhand smoke. She says they also contribute to shorter security lines since smokers don't have to go outside.

The airport is already planning to remove three of the lounges as part of a $1.8 billion renovation plan that is set to take place over the next few years.

The American Nonsmokers' Rights Foundation said the airport is one of only eight major airports in the country that still permits smoking indoors. The others are: Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport; Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport; Denver International Airport; McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas; Miami International Airport; Washington Dulles International Airport; and Nashville International Airport.

Scott Barton, the chairman of the Utah Tobacco-Free Alliance, said that research shows more airports are moving away from smoking spaces. More than 600 U.S. airports, including ones in Los Angeles, Chicago and New York, are smoke-free.

In 2012, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention determined that airport smoking rooms are not effective in eliminating secondhand smoke.

Utah does not allow indoor smoking in any other public buildings besides hotel rooms, said Brook Carlisle, government relations director for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network.

The bill is also supported by the American Cancer Society. The legislative session will begin on January 25.