Local News

RDU Smoking Limits Ignite Some Opposition

Posted January 1, 2008 5:03 p.m. EST
Updated January 1, 2008 7:26 p.m. EST

— Many public buildings across Wake County went tobacco-free Tuesday, but the new smoking restrictions at Raleigh-Durham International Airport irked some travelers.

A new ordinance restricts smoking outside RDU's two terminals and other buildings here at the airport. Smokers must be at least 50 feet away from airport buildings or inside a designated smoking zone before lighting up. Smoking is also banned inside the parking garages and bus shelters.

The Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority decided to snuff out smoking because of countless complaints from travelers wanting a smoke-free environment, officials said.

"I think they must not have enough to do," smoker Eddie Randolph said of airport officials.

Randolph was eager to have a cigarette Tuesday after spending about two hours in a plane, but an airport police officer interrupted his smoke outside the terminal. Randolph said he thinks the new rules are ridiculous.

"I'm sitting there beside a taxi cab. The exhaust system five (feet) from me (was) pumping its exhaust, pumping into my lungs. But this cig is going to kill me – does it make sense?"

Several other smokers were caught lighting up within feet of the "No Smoking" signs. RDU officials said violators would be warned initially but would later face $50 fines.

Other travelers, including some smokers, said they liked RDU's effort to reduce smoking.

"Actually, I think it is a good idea even though I am a smoker," Priscilla MacPhee said.

"I really don't think it is a bad idea because, if you are a non-smoker and you walk through a cloud of other people smoking, it's irritating," traveler Susan Potter said.