When Did They Ban Smoking On Planes?

In today’s society, you are not permitted to smoke in many public places in America. This can vary from state to state, but generally includes restaurants, bars, and planes.

When Did They Ban Smoking On Planes?

Smoking in public in these specific places was banned because the harmful and addictive results of smoking are now well known to the public.

But when exactly was it banned on planes? In this article, we will discuss when smoking was banned on planes, and more! So, if you are interested, then read on! 

When Did Public Smoking Bans Come Into Effect?

Europeans were first introduced to smoking and the tobacco plant in 1492. In 1571, European doctors began discussing the favorable properties of the plant. They claimed it would help to cure many issues and diseases, like lockjaw, toothache, and cancer. 

However, tobacco was then condemned by King James I in 1602, and the use of it in Holy places was banned by the Pope in 1624. 

Then, people started the discussion that tobacco may actually be harmful. In 1791, the first link between snuff and nose cancer was made by British doctors. In 1912, the first link between smoking and lung cancer was made. 

However, smoking tobacco rose significantly in popularity during the First and Second world wars. This led to a generation of men who were addicted to cigarettes after returning from the war. 

Eventually, cigarettes were marketed to women, and the number of women who smoked in the US tripled in 10 years from 1925. 

In 1947, a chemist confirmed that there was enough evidence to link smoking to cancer, and in 1967, smoking and lung cancer were definitively linked. This led to tobacco companies being obligated legally to place warning labels on their cigarette packets. 

These companies were also facing various lawsuits between 1970-1997. It took many years for tobacco companies to admit that cigarettes and any other tobacco products related to cigarettes cause cancer.

After that, there was a movement to educate young people on the risks and dangers of smoking, as well as bans on smoking in various public places, which was first introduced between 1990 and 2000. 

When Was Smoking Banned On Planes?

Up until the 1970s, the majority of flights were not smoke-free. They did have smoke-free sections at the back and front of the plane.

Those wishing to travel via plane were asked whether they would like to sit in a smoking or non-smoking area as they were checking in. 

At this time, you were not permitted to smoke during refueling, landing, or takeoff. You were also not allowed to carry pipes or cigars, although cigarettes were allowed. 

The US began banning smoking on flights in the 1980s. At first, in 1984, smoking was banned on all planes that had thirty seats or under.

However, this was reversed later that same day and was not brought back into law until Ronald Reagen signed it into a congressional bill in 1988. 

When Did They Ban Smoking On Planes?

Also in 1988,  there was a ban on smoking on flights that were two hours or less. Then, in 1990, passengers were not permitted to smoke on domestic flights of 6 hours or less, as signed into law by George HW Bush. 

However, this ban on smoking only applied to the cabin and the passengers. It did not apply to the flight deck so that pilots could smoke on planes even after the ban in the ‘90s. 

Then, in 1995, Delta Air Lines was the first to ban smoking on every Delta Air Line worldwide flight in 1995. 

However, an incident in 1997 changed everything. In 1997,  Dr. Abid Hanson died while sitting in the non-smoking section on a flight from New York to Athens. 

In 2000, smoking was banned on all international and domestic flights for everyone on the plane. 

However, this was for planes with services to and from the US only. So, airlines from other countries did not have to follow this rule for a while. 

In late 2015, the use of e-cigs; electronic cigarettes, were banned on all planes. It also became illegal for you to carry them in your luggage. 

Why Are There Still Ashtrays On Planes? 

In-flight smoking still has a legacy, though. All airlines are mandated to carry an ashtray on all of their airplanes. 

This may seem like a pointless requirement, but it is still in place for a reason.

If you decide to break the rules (which we do not advise) airlines would rather you use an ashtray to put your cigarette out, rather than use a trash can filled with toilet tissue and accidentally start a fire. 

What Happens If You Are Caught Smoking On A Plane Today?

If you are caught smoking on a plane today, then you will face a fine that is sure to hurt your bank account quite significantly. You will also be greeted by airport police when your flight lands. 

What Can You Do If You Want To Smoke?

If you want to smoke a cigarette, then you need to do it before flying. Airports have designated smoking lounges, and you can also smoke on the terminal sidewalk.

After you board your flight, you will not be able to smoke until you have arrived at your destination. And even then, you must follow the smoking rules and regulations of the state or country you are in. 

Are There Any Planes That Permit Smoking Today?

Some charter aircraft will permit smoking. However, many owners of the aircraft, as well as other flyers, find the lingering smell very unappealing, and so even this is a rarity. 

Final Thoughts 

So there you have it! Smoking on planes was banned in stages from the 1980s onwards, and the final ban was enacted in 2000 in the US after the death of Dr. Abid Hanson.

Electronic cigarettes followed in 2015, and gradually, countries all over the world have prohibited the use of cigarettes on planes. 

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