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Big Yellow
Smoking on all flights worldwide will soon be history

Up in smoke

Airlines slowly move toward complete smoking ban on all flights

March 26, 1998
Web posted at: 11:59 a.m. EST (1659 GMT)

(CNN) -- If you smoke, time is almost up for you to be able to light up on most flights around the world. The non-smoking trend that started on U.S. carriers is now spreading to international airlines.

Beginning March 29, British Airways and Lufthansa will ban smoking on all their flights. They've been smoke-free between Europe and North America for some time, but now they're extending the ban to all international routes -- joining other major carriers that already ban smoking worldwide.

Non-smokers are pleased.

"I welcome it," said one airline passenger. "I'm a non-smoker myself and I find it quite intrusive."

Should smoking be allowed on flights?
Yes, on all flights.

Yes, but only on long-haul flights.

No, not at all.

Delta Airlines became the first smoke-free carrier when it banned smoking on its U.S. flights in 1988. U.S. law now bans smoking on all domestic flights. Delta was also the first airline to go smoke-free on its international routes in 1995.

British Airways said it is banning smoking in response to passenger demand.

"All of our customers have repeatedly written, told us that smoke-free is the way to go," said the airline's John Lample. "It's much more comfortable; it's cleaner; it keeps the planes fresher."

The American Cancer Society has given airlines special awards to support their efforts.

"Our first award went to Delta Airlines," said the Society CEO John Seffrin. "We hope that kind of recognition will point out that the public and organizations like the American Cancer Society appreciate the private sector, businesses, doing the right thing in the best interest in the health of all of their customers."

The right to light

But not everyone welcomes smoke-free planes. Critics point out that alcohol is served on planes, and drinking can potentially cause more immediate problems in flight than smoking.

"We have a right to smoke as long as we have a section that's not bothering non-smoking," said one smoker.

For some passengers, smoking bans mean a lifestyle change. One woman said she would no longer be able to go to England.

"I have my mother come here instead of me going there because I know that the eight, nine, ten-hour flight -- I'd be miserable," she said. "So she has to make the trip to see us."

KLM and Northwest Airlines will add smoking restrictions on international routes by April 1 -- but say they'll still allow smokers to light up on some flights to and from Japan.

Based on a report from CNN's Business and Travel and Beyond. The segment appears weekdays on Early Edition at 7 AM (ET) and on Morning News at 10 AM (ET).

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