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  • Smoking on planes.

  • It's almost unbelievable to think it was once okay to light up in a pressurized cabin floating six miles up into the atmosphere.

  • Oh boy this is the life! Ha ha.

  • Especially in a world where bringing a bottle of water through security is now banned.

  • In fact in the US, smoking on flights wasn't fully banned until the year 2000.

  • But if you look closely, planes still have ashtrays.

  • How can that be? Well, there's a pretty good reason why.

  • The first commercial flight took place on January 1st, 1914, flying the 20 or so miles between St. Petersburg and Tampa Florida.

  • That short bumpy ride was all people needed. Investments and demand turned that into a regularly flown route.

  • Commercial aviation had started to take root and safety concerns were never far behind.

  • The Air Commerce Act of 1926 was the first attempt to establish standards with regards to commercial aviation.

  • However, smoking regulation was not a part of it.

  • In the United States, commercial jet travel started in the late 1950s and smoking was common.

  • In fact, in some cases, it was encouraged.

  • Cigarette ads tried to associate smoking with the perception that airplane travel was higher class, even sexy.

  • They sure think of everything, including our Winstons!

  • Mmmm tastes good.

  • Like a cigarette should.

  • But the flight attendants union didn't see it that way.

  • They formally began trying to ban smoking on all flights by the mid 1960s.

  • This coming on the back of a 1964 report from the Surgeon General's office highlighting the dangers of smoking.

  • The report was eye opening to the American public of which 42 percent were smokers.

  • Changing attitudes and the fact the Surgeon General suggested a ban on smoking in public places gaining the union some traction in 1971.

  • That's when some US-based carriers instituted smoking sections on planes.

  • And that's laughable because with the doors closed, the inside of an airplane is a closed system, meaning if one person smokes, everyone's getting some.

  • In 1973, a plane flying from Brazil to France went down after a suspected cigarette was thrown into the garbage, starting a blaze that wasn't able to be put out.

  • The plane crash landed in an onion field killing a 123 of the 134 people on board.

  • A domestic flight in China suffered a similar fate in 1982, when a passenger's cigarette caused a fire that killed 25 people.

  • There are incidents like this going back as far as 1935.

  • A 2002 study conducted by the United Kingdom's Civil Aviation Authority shows how deadly an on-board fire can be.

  • The research found that after a fire starts within a large airplane cabin, pilots have 17 minutes to get on the ground before the recycled smoke turns deadly.

  • Although serious, thankfully, incidents where cigarettes cause fires on planes that turn deadly are few and far between relative to overall air traffic.

  • Banning cigarettes on planes was really more about a workplace health issue of secondhand smoke.

  • The man move closer in 1986 when the Surgeon General called secondhand smoke a serious health risk.

  • That caused the National Academy of Sciences to call for a ban on smoking during all domestic flights, citing the health risk secondhand smoke posed to those who work on board.

  • Finally, in 1988 Ronald Reagan signed the legislation banning smoking on all domestic flights less than two hours long.

  • That was the foot in the door that eventually ended smoking on all flights originating from and or arriving at US based airports.

  • Yet, we still have ashtrays on planes and that's by law.

  • Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations, CHAPTER 1, Sub chapter C, PART 25, Sub part D, Section 25.853, Paragraph G says about planes that

  • laboratories must have self-contained removable ashtrays located conspicuously on or near the entry side of each lavatory door.

  • If more than half are broken, they have to be repaired within 72 hours.

  • Why? The answer is simple.

  • People still smoke on planes.

  • In fact, in May of 2018, a plane had to make an emergency landing in San Jose California.

  • Police say that was due to a fire started by a customer smoking a cigarette in the bathroom.

  • Check out any flight attendant AMFA and you'll see countless examples of people getting caught.

  • We need to have ashtrays so that a smoker lighting up in the lavatory doesn't get nervous about getting caught and try and stick a lit cigarette in the bathroom garbage,

  • lighting the plane on fire and potentially killing everyone.

  • Please. Please don't smoke on planes.

  • Everybody's already miserable as it is.

  • We're all just trying to get to our destination for our 85th wedding of this year.

  • Hey everyone. Thank you so much for watching.

  • If you like what you saw, please like, comment, subscribe, and make sure you hit that little bell so that you get notifications for when Cheddar posts its new content.

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Smoking on planes.

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B1 US smoking cigarette smoke surgeon general secondhand commercial

Why Planes Still Have Ashtrays - Cheddar Explores

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    Jeff Chiao posted on 2022/03/29
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