Atlanta International Airport stubbing out its smoking lounges
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
When the New Year arrives, it will bring cleaner air to the world’s busiest airport.
And that will put some travelers on edge.
At midnight Jan. 1, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) will officially close all its smoking areas to comply with an enhanced city-wide ordinance banning smoking and vaping inside bars, restaurants and enclosed spaces.
For years, there have been about a dozen places throughout ATL’s sprawling terminals where travelers can light up. The list includes smoking lounges funded by the Philip Morris cigarette company in advance of the 1996 Summer Olympics.
Over the years, concerns about exposing travelers and airport employees to second-hand smoke have led most others airport in the United States to shutter their smoking lounges.
And in 2015, then U.S. Surgeon General, Vivek Murthy, used Facebook and Twitter to urge ATL to close its smoking lounges, stating “Mad Men ended, and this should too. World’s busiest airport can be its healthiest.”
But until Atlanta’s ordinance forced ATL to close its smoking areas, airport officials insisted the lounges were an important passenger convenience that also discouraged and prevented smokers from lighting up in inappropriate and unsafe places, such as restrooms.
Now, the airport will close and find another purpose for the spaces once set aside for smokers.
To help with the transition, ATL has posted signs and is running announcements on the overhead PA system in the airport, on the Plane Train between terminals and the SkyTrain that runs between the terminals and the rental car center, hotels and convention center.
And, acknowledging that “smoking is a part of daily life for some,” from January 2 to January 31, about two dozen concessionaires at ATL will be giving away free FDA-approved nicotine replacement therapy lozenges.
Travelers who still want to smoke or vape at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport will find designated smoking areas outside of the domestic and international terminals at least 25 feet from the terminal entrances. Anyone defying the new ban will be subject to a $200 fine.
Other options for smokers in airports
While there are many international airports with smoking lounges, the number of airports in the United States with smoking lounges is dwindling.
Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC) closed its smoking lounges in 2016 and Denver International Airport (DEN) closed its remaining smoking lounge in 2018.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
- Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees