Do you remember…

Do you remember the first time smoking was restricted on air flights in the United States – at first only on flights of two hours or less? Circa 1988, it would have then been impossible to imagine a time when smoking was banned everywhere in the airport – despite the weather outside. It would have been impossible to imagine that whole college campuses and beaches would be made “smoke-free.”

The Sensible Smoker says that smokers allowed such restrictions to be imposed nearly always without comment. That has to change. When airport or other publicly-funded facilities are being planned, smokers should contact the planners and provide written or oral comment asking for better designated smoking areas.

Below is one actual comment, submitted in March, 2009:

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the plans for remodeling the Sitka Airport Terminal. Though I will miss the charm of picking up my kids returning home from college to a building packed with familiar faces, I recognize the need for more space, especially in the security area and especially in summer.

I would like to ask that consideration be given to including a more comfortable Designated Smoking Area shelter outside the main airport building. I believe such a shelter would serve both visitors and Sitka residents.

Thanks again for the opportunity to comment! Feel free to contact me for more specific input.

The present shelter is very vulnerable to wind and sideways rain. I understand a new shelter could not be fully enclosed, but perhaps it could be sited in such a way as to be protected by the main building.

Because the shelter would be out of sight and hearing of the main terminal, it would be wonderful if the airport announcements could be piped into the shelter. People using the existing shelter now lug their bags through the crowds and into the main terminal building to check on their flight and then move it all out again if there is a long period to wait. Or they may linger by the main entrance, in order to hear announcements.

Two other factors that could make the shelter more comfortable are: lighting and using plastic seats, which do not get as cold as metal or concrete.

I am a considerate smoker and at airports always seek out the Designated Smoking Area and obey the rules. I think that building an intelligent shelter for smokers will encourage them to use the shelter, keep it clean and stay away from other travelers.

Keep your comments short and positive. Don’t be dissuaded by rude remarks.

The Sensible Smoker says you are a law-abiding, tax-paying member of the public who has a perfect right to suggest that the needs of you and your cohort be respected when tax dollars are being spent!

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