Standard-Examiner

Banning smoking lounges at SLC International: A conversation

Saturday , January 23, 2016 - 5:15 AM

A burning cigarette.

Getty Images

A burning cigarette.

Utah bans public smoking in public buildings, with two exceptions — hotel rooms and Salt Lake City International Airport.

Sen. Evan Vickers, a Cedar City Republican, wants to cut that list in half. Evans plans to introduce legislation this session banning smoking rooms at the airport.

Ventilation systems in five smoking lounges at SLC filter smoke outside the terminals. The lounges cut down on the number of people smoking at entrances — thus reducing visitors’ exposure to secondhand smoke, spokeswoman Nancy Volker told the Salt Lake Tribune.

More than 600 airports already ban smoking, and SLC plans to scrap three of the lounges as part of an approaching $1.8 billion renovation.

Vickers, who said he often smells cigarette smoke at the airport, said the rooms “seem not to work as well as they like.” He wants all five lounges eliminated, a proposal endorsed by both Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski and the American Cancer Society.

Here’s a look at reader reaction to the story on our Facebook page. All quotes are verbatim:

Michael Nielsen: Really, I am an x-smoker who likes the no indoor smoking rules (even when I smoked), but this just seems like trying to legislate your morals on to others. If people still chose to smoke, these smoking rooms are their right and don't affect anyone who doesn't go in. Aren't there better things for our Utah Righteous-lature to be doing? How about medical marijuana for the many that would help?

Frank Townsend: It's not a question of morals, it's a question of banning something that is dangerous to people's healths.

Michael Nielsen: Again ... The smoking booths don't affect anyone but those in the booth (or maybe standing at the door. They can be avoided.

Paul Nelson: Sorry buddy. Smoking is not a right but a privelage. Appently you havent traveled to very many airports around the country these days. If you want to smoke between flights you have to go completly out of the airport to smoke. There is no smoking period...See More

Michael Nielsen: I have traveled ... And if you had read the article, you would know that Salt Lake is one of a very few that have smoking rooms, and that the room makes it so people didn't stand by the entrances/exits so people HAVE to walk through the second hand smoke. At least with the rooms, we can choose not to expose ourselves to the harm.

I'm interested in your distinction between right and privilege. To me, privilege means they have been granted the ability by others. It's not ours, the government's, or any religion's right to grant that privilege. It's an individual's choice, whether it is good for them or not.

Dawn Procek: Seriously? Just ban smoking and be done with it. That's where we're headed anyway.

Travis Bates: I walk past the fish bowl in the airport a couple times per month. You can't smell it and it has zero impact on non smokers. This is a waste of legislation.

Steve Woodall: Yet more hypocrisy from those on the right who are forever railing against the intrusions of big government.

Charles Thomas Vono: Getting a passing wiff of smoke is not going to hurt you. Denying people their habit is cruel.

Frank Townsend: Charles, "denying people their habit is cruel"? Are you kidding? A habit that is dangerous to their health and you think it's cruel to ban it? Wake up.

Charles Thomas Vono: This is 'murica. Every one has a right to go to hell in their own way.

Richard Cross: Second-hand smoke... no thank you, take your dirty smelly habit to your own back yard.

Paula Jaramillo Stewart: I'm not a smoker, but come on have you ever sat next to a smoker that is needing a puff!! Give them a break!

Teresa Anderson: I'm fine with real cigarette just not Vapers, ecigs, they hurt my lungs so much.

Sondi Lyn Boswell: Oh just leave it alone. Enough. at least it has it place there and is very well vented....it's a International airport! I keep thinking about how the world viewed our liquor laws & There's no gambling When's it going to stop?