The last refuge for smokers at Will Rogers World Airport — a musty, windowless room with yellowed walls off the main terminal — is set to close in September.
The Oklahoma City Airport Trust voted unanimously last week to shut down the smoking room at the airport on Sept. 1.
The smoking lounge sparked complaints from travelers as well as airport workers, said Karen Carney, airport spokeswoman.
“We've been trying to move toward a smoke-free facility, and this is one of the last things we have,” Carney said. “It is a really difficult space not only to keep clean, but to prevent secondhand smoke from coming out into the concourse.”
After the lounge is closed, smokers at the airport will be relegated to outside.
Smoking at Will Rogers also is banned up to 175 feet away from the entrance areas.
A Center for Disease Control and Prevention study released in November found that air pollution levels outside of designated smoking areas in airports are five times higher than in smoke-free airports.
While many airports have moved to smoke-free status over the past several years, five of the 29 largest airports in the United States still allow smoking in designated areas, according to the study.
Harold Smith, who runs the shoeshine stand near the smoking lounge at Will Rogers said that although he has grown accustomed to the smoke that wafts down the hall from the lounge, he is glad it will be closed.
Continue reading this story on the...