New research confirms earlier paper on Lambert-St. Louis Airport’s “Death Boxes”

The following paper, published online on April 21, 2010, confirms the conclusions of a peer-reviewed paper by Pion & Givel (which it references) which was published in Tobacco Control in March 2004, titled “Airport smoking rooms don’t work.

Smoking room featured in KSDK News Channel 5 TV report by Linton Johnson, July 1998

This new paper provides important scientific validation of that earlier work which has continued to be ignored for years by St. Louis officials.

Lambert Airport officials in St. Louis have routinely used industrial hygienists to “prove” the smoking rooms are 100% effective at containing secondhand smoke. Those individuals have misapplied federal standards and used flawed methodology to reach those conclusions but that hasn’t stopped Lambert Airport from using these (non-peer reviewed) studies to retain the smoking rooms in the airport and oppose city and county legislative efforts to make the facility smoke-free.

This paper adds urgency to the need for airport officials and city leaders, including Mayor Francis Slay and President of the Board of Alderman, Lewis Reed, from taking action to remove this known human carcinogen. St. Louis City shouldn’t wait until its smoke-free ordinance kicks in on January 2, 2011.

Below is the abstract, reproduced from Nicotine & Tobacco Research, doi:10.1093/ntr/ntq054 on the web.

Air quality in and around airport enclosed smoking rooms

Kiyoung Lee, Sc.D., C.I.H.1,2, Ellen J. Hahn, Ph.D., R.N.2, Heather E. Robertson, M.P.A.2, Laura Whitten, B.A.2, Laura K. Jones, M.S., M.A.2 and Brendan Zahn, B.S.N.2
1 Graduate School of Public Health and Institute of Health and Environment, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea
2 Tobacco Policy Research Program, College of Nursing, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY

Corresponding Author: Kiyoung Lee, ScD, CIH, Graduate School of Public Health, Seoul National University, 599 Gwanak-ro, Gwanak-gu, Seoul 151-742, Korea. Telephone: +82-2-880-2735; Fax: +82-2-762-2888; E-mail:


Introduction: Smoking rooms have been installed in some airports to allow indoor smoking. There have been few field studies to measure fine particle leakage in operational smoking rooms. The objective of the research was to assess air quality inside and outside the 4 smoking rooms located within a medium-sized, regional commercial airport.

Methods: Particulate matter less than 2.5-µm (PM2.5) concentrations were simultaneously measured inside and outside the 4 smoking rooms in the airport and in the public lobby. The monitoring was conducted during normal hours of operation. Numbers of people and smokers were counted. The airport had separate ventilation systems for all 4 rooms checked by the airport prior to monitoring, and they were operating properly.

Results: Although there were few smokers in each room, average PM2.5 concentrations inside the smoking rooms were significantly higher than the National Ambient Air Quality Standard for 24 hr (35 µg/m3). Fine particles from secondhand smoke (SHS) leaked to the outside in 3 of the 4 smoking rooms, exposing workers and the public.

Discussion: Although the ventilation systems in the smoking rooms were operating properly, fine particles from SHS leaked to the surrounding smoke-free areas in the airport. Indoor space inside airports should be completely nonsmoking, and enclosed smoking rooms are not recommended.

Received: December 31, 2009; Accepted: March 14, 2010.

Smoker in Lambert Airport “Death Box.” Still image from
KSDK News Channel 5 TV report by Linton Johnson, July 1998.

One response to “New research confirms earlier paper on Lambert-St. Louis Airport’s “Death Boxes”

  1. nice, I like your posts ..
    very good to readers 😀

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