Until the latter part of the 1980s, airplanes had a smoking and non-smoking section. Lighting up a cigar was allowed back then. However, try smoking in today’s planes and you could end up missing your flight because you were asked to go down.
The smoking ban on planes were enforced before it was disallowed in pubs and restaurants. The prohibition was due to the strict marketing of cigarette smoke as a health hazard. It is easy to understand airline companies why they would ban smoking on international flights.
Probably they don’t want to make their planes as a minefield of nicotine withdrawal symptoms. Also, they wouldn’t want their flight attendants to be branded as bad attendants because they are smokers. Airline companies also didn’t want their non-smoking passengers to get exposed in second hand smoke.
Smoking section Please
Back in those days, the smoking ban on planes seemed unlikely. Passengers had the option to sit on the smoking section so they can light a stick or two during their flight. However, airline companies realized that cigarettes and wooden aircraft is a recipe for disaster. Most planes are made from highly flammable canvas which is one of the reasons smoking was banned in flight.
With the invention of enclosed cabins, aircraft were no longer limited to domestic flights. Passengers were moving about from one city to another. This time was considered as the “Golden Age” of in-flight smoking. However, passengers complained about their cigarettes having a different taste. Because air was thinner at higher altitudes, it meant cigarettes burned much slower.
Also, passengers had to open their windows to throw out their cigarettes which was troublesome for the passengers. Airline companies like United Airlines even provided complimentary cigars to their men-only service.
How Times Have Changed
Although some airline companies still instituted smoking and non-smoking areas, the airline crew was the most affected. They started to suffer from smoking issues and their health started to deteriorate. Flight attendants and crew started to suffer from shortness of breath as well as problems associated with secondhand smoke. In addition, some flight crew experienced deadly diseases like lung cancer.
For this reason, the move to make airplanes smoke-free gained ground. Australians initiated the ban on domestic flights in 1987 and eventually extended it to international flights in 1990. The United States followed suit in 1988 when the Federal Aviation Administration banned smoking on flights of less than two hours. They even set a $2,000 fine for anyone who tampered with smoke detectors. That fine of the FAA still stands to this very day.
Why the ashtrays in today’s planes?
With the ban on in-flight smoking, one wonders why there are still ashtrays on flights. That’s because ashtrays are a minimum requirement in plane toilets. Most airline companies are aware that some passengers might still break the law and give in to their craving for cigarettes. So the idea is that if they do give in, it’s better that they stub it in than set the plane on fire.
How To Overcome Cravings During Flights
Let’s face it. No matter how much you try to control it, it cannot be hard to overcome your craving to smoke during the flight. That is why we have compiled some tips to help you overcome your urge to smoke while on a plane.
Keep your hands busy. Smoking can make you fidgety and twitchy. Keep your hands busy by playing some games on your smartphone or by eating some sweets. Stock up on snacks. Buying your snacks on the airport can be costly on your part so do buy them before you leave home. As mentioned, eating some snacks will keep your hands busy.