Smoking

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.

  • RELATED: “Bill sees to outlaw smoking in Salt Lake City 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?

(28) comments

anonymous

Thank you for that! You must've gone to a lot of work to get all that data together. Unfortunately, it doesn't help you argue your case at all. Your writing doesn't clearly explain your data. It appears that you're conflating data in several places. The lack of logic is disappointing. I appreciate that you're dealing with a complex issue but prosecuting your argument successfully depends on doing it credibly.

anonymous

As you must know, answering this is a very complex question (not amenable to sound bites or web discussions due to general size constraints).That said, consider that in New York City a pack of cigarettes costs about $12.91 for a premium (not discount) brand. That includes state excise tax of $4.35, city excise tax of $1.50, federal excise tax of $1.01, and an $0.80 sales tax (split between city and state). There is significant leakage in taxes collected since higher taxes stimulate the black market. In NY that leakage is estimated at about $1.3 B each year. NY State tax revenue collected for 2015-16 is estimated at about $1.2 B. Totaling the costs of smoking depends upon how you calculate it. I believe the calculations of exaggerated and inflated. Of course the costs include the cost of second hand smoke and a range of so-called intangible costs which are dubious at best.--In NY the tobacco control version of the cost estimate is about $10.4 B (of which $3.3 B is derived from Medicaid). The $1.2 B collected in direct tobacco taxes at first glance looks like only a small portion of the cost but ignores all other taxes paid by all residents including smokers of about $5.9 B (so tobacco taxes add $1.2 B above the common tax load).--In the UK about £9.5 B in tobacco duties, plus another £2.5 B in VAT is collected so the Treasury is taking in about £12 B directly from tobacco sales with health costs (to the NHS estimated at between £3 and £6 B).--In Australia which you mention (a nation with extreme draconian tobacco taxes and policies) the net cost of smoking to the health system is roughly A$318.4 M, a figure that hardly makes a dent on the A$8.85 B collected in taxes by the government.The tobacco control lobby seeks to add a range of intangible costs and of course attributes all so-called smoking-related diseases to tobacco use when of course these can and do occur to non-smokers and attributing actual causation for any specific disease is actually near impossible. Attributing the costs to smoking ignores all other confounding factors, all biases, and the political decision to discount all other potential causes--essentially equating risk with absolute causation. It also ignores the fact that smokers also pay all of the same taxes paid by non-smokers, pay insurance premiums, and financially contribute to their own care in many places, etc. (Sources include NY State Department of Taxation; "Australian cigarettes to cost more; Smokers Down Under filling government coffers with taxes," International Business Times, 8.19.2016; Collins, DJ & Lapsley, HM, (2008) "The costs of tobacco, alcohol and illicit drug abuse to Australian society in 2004/05.)That said, I do believe that the taxes collected from smokers more than cover the costs that sing entails (what all of those costs are is subject to serious debate). After all many studies and estimates have shown that the reduced life expectancy of smokers off sets the costs of treatment. I suspect you don't agree. That's fine although you seem to have a lot of figures (or at least you suggest you do and talk a lot about studies, but never mention what they are). Just remember smoking rooms in bars and restaurants are subsidized by the cost of the alcohol and food served and that contributes to the profit accrued as well as other taxes collected. There is ample evident to suggest that this is a political rather than economic argument.

anonymous

It's interesting that you say so. The figures I've seen are quite different. The only extra tax smokers pay in most countries is on their cigarettes and that's not even close to high enough. For every tax dollar collected from tobacco in Australia, six are spent on medical costs for illnesses doctors say are caused by smoking. They aren't many smoking rooms there, though. Mainly because nobody wants to spend money on them. In Europe, the tax on cigarettes is lower but the burden on society is higher. In Japan, the tobacco tax rate is one of the lowest in the world and by government mandate private corporations have been forking out for smoking rooms, sometimes as high as one on every floor of every building. While there's talk of banning all indoor public smoking in Japan architects are in limbo and hospitality are starting to jump before they're pushed. It's so much cheaper to go smoke free!There are a few trial indoor smoking spaces free for smokers to use paid for by tobacco companies but even they're talking about charging for those soon.How much tax do smokers pay in your area? Do you think those taxes cover all the costs that smoking entail?

anonymous

Smokers already pay extreme taxes compared to others.

anonymous

Why should non-smokers fund smokers' spaces? If smokers were being charged each time they went into a smoking space, it'd be fairer I reckon. Smokers choose to smoke, so smokers should pay for the space to do it away from others.

Sabbatical

Do not know how to make it any clearer ....The airport insures the smoke free area is 25' from the door....."businesses in Salt Lake and Ogden do not"enforce the rule and the city/state agencies do not check

anonymous

I'm not sure if I understand what you mean that the airport complies with the Utah Indoor Clean Air Act. From my understanding (I work in a building that isn't exempt from the Clean Air Act) and prior to the indoor clean air act our building used filters. In order to comply with the Utah Indoor Clean Air Act our building had to have these designated smoking rooms removed along with the filters and all smokers now have to smoke at least 25 feet from any entrance to the building. If the airport does have filters I assume that they are not compliant with the Utah Clean Air Act since from my understanding you cannot have special smoking rooms with filters, the entire building must be smoke free and smokers must go outside of the building and remain 25 feet away from any entrance. I'm unsure who enforces the 25 foot rule but the owners of the building I work in are very strict and have even placed signs at the entrances 25 feet away indicating to smokers that they may not smoke past these signs. I assume the Utah Department of health or someone else enforces this. The buildings in college were also required to comply with the clean air act and they kept emphasizing to smokers that they must be at least 25 feet away from the building. I assume there is a state agency that follows up on complaints and issues fines to people who violate the Indoor Clean Air Act. I assume with how building owners are making sure smokers comply with the 25 foot rule that they believe whoever is enforcing these regulations does follow up on complaints and enforce violations of the indoor clean air act.

anonymous

knock yourself out. but i read to read, not to sleep. who would?

anonymous

well now, that's going to keep me up nights.

Sabbatical

BF,Salt lake complies to the UICAA...most business do not comply with the no smoking within 25 feet of an entrance..Salt Lake Airport does...If I have to walk thru smokers standing by the door to a bar/restaurant....I do not go there...no one enforces it.

anonymous

The filters at SLC International seem to be working since I was unaware that you could smoke in SLC International Airport until reading a story in the SL Trib last month about this proposed ban. I assumed that since I don't smell cigarette smoke and that the airport is a public building that you couldn't smoke at SLC International since it would be violating the Utah Indoor Clean Air Act.

anonymous

I don't smoke but was unaware that the Salt Lake International Airport is exempt from the Utah Clean Air Act. I guess I should get my sense of smell checked out since I haven't smelled the cigarette smoke while in the airport. Be careful what you wish for though Utah. This means if someone wants to smoke they will have to leave the secure area of the airport and return by going through the TSA security line again when they are finished smoking. This also means passengers who are in SLC on connecting flights will also have to exit the secure area to smoke and return through the TSA line. Currently people can smoke without leaving the secure area and if someone is in SLC for a connecting flight they don't have to go through the TSA line in SLC at all as long as they remain in the secure area. This will result in longer lines at the airport. How about doing something about the crowds who block the stairs to the baggage claim as they wait for a returning missionary? Sometimes they get rowdy and call people some unflattering names if asked to please move.

anonymous

If SLC closes the smoking lounges then I'll have no reason to route there during cross-country flights. No reason to patronize that airport. Those smoking lounges where us smokers can converse with each other (and more conversation is going on in those lounges than anywhere else in the airport and what does that tell you?) are a real boon to my travel itineraries. I'll miss them.Last time I passed through there I had a wonderful conversation with a young female attorney who had suffered a neurological injury and so took up smoking as a means to heal that neurological injury. Tobacco is instrumental in the healing of neurological injuries among with many other health benefits to include anti-Alzheimer's, anti-Dementia, anti-Parkinsons. This is of no concern to the health nazis of SLC of course.Goodbye SLC. No reason to pass through you any more. I can give up smoking, but you'll have to give up me.

anonymous

If you should choose to read yourself to sleep, be sure not to read anything written under the influence of tobacco.

anonymous

hhmmmm, interesting. you don't normally see "smoker" as a qualifier on the book jacket intro to the author. i'll have to pay closer attention.

anonymous

For starters, no Mark Twain for you. No Oscar Wilde. No Edgar Allen Poe. Need I go on?

blackrulon

If a Zion curtain is good enough to keep children from seeing alcoholic drinks being prepared then a whole Zion room to keep people from seeing people smoking should be acceptable.

anonymous

Regarding ventilation: studies on ventilation have shown that indoor environmental tobacco smoke concentrations with state of the art ventilation systems are essentially the same as those found in non-smoking establishments. That equals no additional risk. (See Jerkins, et al, Environmental tobacco smoke in the nonsmoking section of a restaurant: a case study, Regul Toxicol Pharmacol, 2001 Dec;34(3):213-20.)

anonymous

One large study looked at 38 years worth of data. Engstrom, JE and Kabat, GC. Environmental tobacco smoke and tobacco related mortality in a prospective study of Californians, 1960-98 BMJ 2003; 326:1057. This study found "No significant associations were found for current or former exposure to environmental tobacco smoke before or after adjusting for seven confounders and before or after excluding participants with pre-existing disease."In addition a large prospective study (76,000 women) showed that while there is a strong association between smoking and lung cancer no such link has been demonstrated with second hand smoke. The direct quote is "the fact that passive smoking may not be strongly associated with lung cancer points to a need to find other risk factors for the disease [in nonsmokers].” (Peres, J, "No Clear Link Between Passive Smoking and Lung Cancer,"J Natl Cancer Inst, 2013.)

anonymous

One example is Boffetta, et al: Multicenter Case-Control Study of Exposure to Environmental Tobacco Smoke and Lung Cancer in Europe, Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Vol. 90, No. 19, October 7, 1998: "public indoor settings did not represent an important source of ETS exposure."

tebates99

Take it at face value, but airports are fairly self sustaining and paid for by travelers commuting through them. I do agree that it's miserable being trapped next to someone smelling like an ash tray. Perhaps there should be a bottle of Febreze handy.http://airportsforthefuture.or...

Sabbatical

Vinny.....Please clarify your findings, since there are "Ample" studies, I'm quite sure you are well educated in this area

Sabbatical

No sympathy from me...how much money does each smoking room cost the tax payer......$$$$$. Smokers woes are self inflicted, no sympathy here. How about sharing a seating arrangement..next to a smoker for 6 hours..he does not leave the ac smelling like a NS..no sympathy from me!

anonymous

Reject the move toward additional smoking bans. Separate, ventilated smoking rooms pose no real public health threat to others. Actually, neither does the second hand smoke itself. There are ample studies that discount the antismoking boosterism on second hand smoke. But, separate facilities allow choice and allow both sides accommodation. Keep the smoking rooms and repeal draconian anti-smoking laws.

tebates99

Mack, I always think about those folks traveling long flights with a layover in Salt Lake. Not enough time to exit the airport, come back through security, and make their connection. I feel for those folks. It's a bad habit but hey, I have my share of those too.

anonymous

3❝my neighbor's mate is getting 98$. HOURLY on the internet❞....A few days ago new McLaren F1 subsequent after earning 18,512$,,,this was my previous month's paycheck ,and-a little over, 17k$ Last month ..3-5 h/r of work a day ..with extra open doors & weekly. paychecks.. it's realy the easiest work I have ever Do.. I Joined This 7 months ago and now making over 87$, p/h.Learn More right Here4fmb......➤➤➤➤➤ http://GlobalSuperEmploymentVacanciesReportsNational/GetPaid/98$hourly...❦.❦.❦.❦.❦.❦.❦.❦.❦.❦.❦.❦.❦.❦.❦.❦.❦.❦.❦.❦.❦.❦.❦.❦.❦.❦.❦.❦.❦.❦.❦.❦.❦.❦.❦.❦.❦.

anonymous

What a victory for hospitality and accommodation. I have not smoked for about four years, and I like the Indoor Clean Air Act (twenty years before I did finally quit), but hey, this is Utah and nothing says 'welcome' like 'screw you'.

Sabbatical

Please...A sparkling new terminal and you have to trash it with smoking rooms...what a waste!

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.