The U.S. Airports That Still Allow Smoking Indoors

by SharonKurheg

I’m old enough to remember when people were allowed to smoke pretty much anywhere. But over the years, those involved in science and medicine have discovered how bad smoking, and even breathing in secondhand smoke, can be harmful. And with that, smoking has been banned in most public places, usually via state, county or city ordinances.

Anyway, I was perusing the internet and can you believe that as recently as September, 2021, Charleston International Airport (CHS) had finally gone smoke and vape free. As a non-smoker, I was certainly happy to read that, but was also surprised that it was still allowing smoking.

After some research, I discovered that CHS had actually banned indoor smoking in 2006 (although for a time smoking was still allowed in airline club rooms, which were considered “non-public areas, as per an ABC News report in 2009). Lighting up at curbside at the terminal entrance was initially still allowed, but that eventually was updated to specific smoking areas. But in 2015, airport employees weren’t allowed to smoke anywhere on airport property, even in the designated smoking areas. And now there’s no smoking on CHS property, period.

But that got me thinking – how many U.S. airports still allow smoking in this day and age? And where?

It turns out there are two kinds “non smoking” policies when it comes to airports:

No Smoking On Property

There aren’t very many airports that have banned smoking on property entirely. CHS is one of them. So is Indianapolis Airport (IND).

No Smoking Indoors

The vast majority of airports don’t allow smoking indoors whatsoever but have designated smoking sections outside. Those can vary from anywhere outside to only in specific places outdoors.

American Nonsmokers’ Right Foundation maintains and regularly updates a list of these airports.

Airports that allow indoor smoking

When airports began to not allow smoking in indoor public areas anymore (not even at the bars), some developed “smoking rooms.” They were allowed, depending on local laws, usually only if the ventilation systems allowed the smoke to leave the building without infiltrating the rest of the building.

Here are the handful of airports in the U.S. that still have such smoking rooms and smoking lounges, as per American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation:

    • Alaska: Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport: All enclosed areas of Alaska airports are required to be smokefree by state law, except that designated smoking areas are permitted in the international terminal for passengers who are in transit and are restricted from leaving the airport. The Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport has such a terminal.
    • Florida: Miami International Airport (MIA)Smoking is
      permitted in an “open air” atrium, which has four walls and a roof with a gap at the roofline, that is attached to the airport’s TGI Fridays restaurant.
    • Mississippi: Biloxi International Airport (GPT) – Smoking is permitted in a “post security filtered smoking room,” across from Gate 1.
    • Nevada: Harry Reid International Airport (LAS) Smoking is permitted in the Budweiser Racing Track Lounge in the Esplanade PreSecurity area, enclosed slotmachine lounges (B, C, D, and E Gates), and designated outdoor areas near ticketing and baggage claim. The airport was smoke-free indoors from 12/2006 until 8/2010 by Nevada law. Smoking is now permitted in the bar because it stopped serving food, and Nevada law stipulates that smoking is permitted in bars that do not serve food. Smoking is also permitted in enclosed slotmachine lounges because they have been designated as gaming floors, which are exempt from Nevada law.
    • Tennessee: Nashville International Airport (BNA) Smoking is permitted in two Graycliff Boutique & Lounge (with purchase) locations: on Concourse B near Gate B10 and on Concourse C near Gate C10.
    • Washington D.C.: Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) Smoking rooms are located near gates B38, B75, C4 and D30.

Feature Photo: Pxfuel

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Christian February 15, 2023 - 6:36 pm

I’m an ex-smoker and I can very confidently say that having more smoking areas in airports would make for less jittery passengers. Having someone in nicotine withdrawal either leave the secure area to smoke or get really stressed before and during flight just doesn’t tend to work out all that well. Germany has the right of this with plenty of smoking areas in major airports.

Troy February 15, 2023 - 7:52 pm

LAX, International terminal, they opened a outdoor patio behind KFC

SharonKurheg February 15, 2023 - 10:49 pm

Yep…plenty of places still have outdoor spots like that, but few still have indoor smoking.

Bobbie June 14, 2023 - 4:31 pm

Unless there has been a change within the past year, Tampa also has a smoking area within the airport. As of last February, there was an outdoor smoking area easily accessible from the gates.


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