There’s a debate going on over at Elliot over whether or not the travel industry has gone too far in is zealotry against smokers and their evil, disgusting cancer sticks. Smoking has gone from a ubiquitous American habit to much more of a furtive activity taking place in back alleys (at least 20 feet from the building). The travel industry has followed suit with the times, banning all smoking on domestic flights as well as the vast majority of international flights. Hotels are cracking down on smoke; 86 percent of hotel rooms in America are now smoke-free, not to mention the 30-odd states that have banned indoor smoking entirely (including tobacco strongholds North Carolina and Virginia). Rental cars are also going the way of no-smokey, with both Enterprise and Alamo banning smoking in their entire fleets. Other agencies have divided their cars into smoking and non-, but those of the smoking variety are dwindling.
While there’s plenty of evidence against smokers (and their evil, disgusting cancer sticks) — major health problems from secondhand smoke, plus the high cost of sanitizing rooms, cars, and/or planes that have been smoked in — has the industry taken it a little too far? Sure, no one wants to smell other people’s smoke, but last I checked, smoking is, in fact, still legal for those of us over the age of 18. Shouldn’t there be some thought and consideration about the 47 million Americans who light up? And by that I mean more options than the gross, tiny atrium for smokers in the MIA airport, for example. German entrepreneur Alexander Schoppmann certainly thinks so, and he’s looking for startup money for an exclusive, all-smoking airline that will run the Duesseldorf-Tokyo corridor. However, even Schoppmann seems to have run into some snags after Germany passed a smoking ban last year. Smoke ’em if you got ’em.