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Atlanta Airport Bans Notorious Smoking Rooms

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Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the busiest airport in the world by passenger traffic, is planning to close down its smoking lounges on January 2, 2020. The decision follows the ordinance by the mayor of Atlanta, banning smoking and vaping in bars, restaurants and other enclosed public spaces.

The legislation signed by Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms will come into force on January 2, the same day the closing becomes effective.

At the airport Hartsfield-Jackson, about a dozen places are available for smokers at present. Following the ban, these lounges would be converted for other purposes. Smokers will be directed to outdoor terminal smoking area before heading through security.

CNBC quoted Jennifer Ogunsola, spokeswoman for Hartsfield-Jackson, saying "We plan to work with our airline partners to make sure they communicate with their customers that smoking is no longer permitted at ATL. We also will have PSA [public service announcements] messaging throughout the airport as well as permanent and digital signage with like messaging."

The proposed ban is expected to limit increasing exposure to secondhand smoking among public. Although airports argue that smoking lounges help prevent people from smoking in restrooms and other spaces, a report by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that specially designated smoking areas at airports are not effective to prevent exposure to secondhand smoke.

In the United States, Salt Lake City International Airport and Denver International Airport banned smoking lounges, while certain other U.S. airports still offer the facility.

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