ATLANTA Nov 20 Thanksgiving travelers who pass
through the five major U.S. airports that still allow indoor
smoking in designated public rooms face a hidden health hazard,
the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Tuesday.
A study by the federal health agency found that secondhand
smoke levels directly outside public smoking areas were five
times higher than the levels in smoke-free airports.
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International, Washington Dulles
International, McCarran International in Las Vegas, Denver
International and Salt Lake City International are the only five
of the nation's 29 largest airports that still have indoor
smoking areas accessible to the general public, the CDC said.
The five account for 15 percent of all U.S. air travel, the
"The findings in today's report further confirm that
ventilated smoking rooms and designated smoking areas are not
effective," said Dr. Tim McAfee, director of the CDC Office on
Smoking and Health. "Prohibiting smoking in all indoor areas is
the only effective way to fully eliminate exposure to secondhand
Secondhand smoke causes heart disease and lung cancer in
non-smoking adults, and even brief exposure to secondhand smoke
can cause a heart attack, the CDC said.
The CDC tests, conducted between Oct. 19 and Nov. 1,
measured markers for secondhand smoke. Pollution levels found
slightly more than 3 feet (1 metre) outside the smoking rooms
were five times higher than in four major smoke-free airports
used for comparison, the CDC said.
"Airport smoking areas and the areas around them are not
healthy - for workers or travelers, particularly children,"
Brian King, a CDC epidemiologist and co-author of the report,
said in a statement.
(Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Cynthia Johnston)