Should a Forum for Smokers Be Launched on FlyerTalk?

embers of TalkBoard on FlyerTalk are currently voting on a motion as to whether or not a forum for smokers be launched; and it has created a debate which began in this discussion in which FlyerTalk member Dovster initially posted his request.

Due to increasing restrictions imposed upon smokers aboard airplanes, at airports, while dining in restaurants, when renting vehicles and in hotel rooms, frequent fliers who smoke are finding it more difficult to indulge in satisfying their craving for nicotine as developed into a habit — arguably an addiction — over the years. Dovster gave one such example which actually happened which cannot be asked in one specific forum on FlyerTalk:

Last year, I stayed at the ATL Hilton and called them in October to ask to have the same corner room reserved for my award stay in January. I was told that the hotel no longer allows smoking.

I then made an award reservation on line for a smoking room at the ATL Embassy Suites. It was confirmed but a few days before my arrival I called the ES to ask if I could get early check in and was told that renovations had been completed sooner than expected and it is now smoke-free.

After careful search, the only ATL hotel I could find which both allowed smoking and had a courtesy bus from the airport was a Microtel which was in very bad shape and, of course, I could not use my HHonors points there. I had to pay cash.

Additionally, some people who are vehemently against smoking tend to vilify those who smoke. The proposal requests a sort of “safe haven” where smokers can discuss their options while traveling and share information with each other peacefully.

FlyerTalk members who oppose the launching of a forum dedicated to smokers who travel — possibly to be called The Smoking Section — say that such a forum is not necessary or needed.

Furthermore, some FlyerTalk members are concerned about fellow members who are younger than the age of 18. “Teens do tend to think they are invincible, and their decision-making capabilities are not fully developed, which is why it is especially important not to glamorize smoking to them”, posted FlyerTalk member valedecem.

Adamant against smoking and opposing the creation of the proposed forum dedicated to smokers who travel, FlyerTalk member tom911 is calling for a disclaimer for the forum if the majority of members of TalkBoard are in favor of it: “I hope not just the lawyers, but management and employees of Internet Brands would want that warning directed at teen smokers and potential teen smoke to show they care about this major health issue that causes 6 million deaths a year around the world. They’re the most vulnerable group in that 9 of 10 smokers try their first cigarette before age 18.”

I have always been of the opinion of welcoming members of FlyerTalk who are younger than the age of 18, as I believe that developing an interest in travel is not only healthy; but also potentially more educational than any book or classroom. It is difficult for me to believe that a forum dedicated to smokers would pique the curiosity of teenagers to experiment with smoking. I had never liked — and to this day, still dislike — when cigarette smoke infringes upon my breathing. Why in the world would anyone pick up such a habit?

Decades ago, celebrities smoked cigarettes in films; and cigarette companies sponsored television shows. Did you know that the heart-shaped introduction to I Love Lucy familiar to many people was not what was used when the situation comedy show originally aired on television in the 1950s?

Because of the Public Health Cigarette Smoking Act passed by members of the United States House of Representatives in 1970; signed into law on April 1, 1970 by Richard Nixon, who was president of the United States at that time; and became effective as of Friday, January 2, 1971 which prohibited the advertising of cigarettes on television, syndicated reruns of I Love Lucy could no longer legally contain the any of the original openings sponsored by cigarette companies — one of which you can see for yourself if you click here.

Fans of celebrities naturally wanted to emulate them in every way possible; and smoking cigarettes was a fashionable way of doing so. It is disturbing, however, to see Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble — cartoon characters whose audience is chiefly children and teenagers, although The Flintstones originally aired in prime time on national television in the early 1960s — promoting cigarettes in commercials and sponsored by cigarette companies. “Hey, mom — why can’t I smoke cigarettes? Fred and Barney are doing it!”

Peer pressure might be another reason to start smoking amongst teenagers: “Everybody else is doing it; so I have to do it too to be cool.”

I am quite doubtful that a forum dedicated to smokers on FlyerTalk would similarly convince members younger than the age of 18 to take up smoking cigarettes, as illustrated by Dovster in the aforementioned example — especially as the forum is not intended to glamorize smoking — to which valedecem responded: “The point isn’t whether your individual struggles as a smoker are subjectively (or even objectively) glamorous. The fact is that traveling itself is what is glamorous (yes, even when you suffer the indignity of being in a cramped seat next to a sweaty person for 6 hours, or find a hair in your bathtub, or have to walk half a mile to find a smoking lounge), and the people who have the means to do so are part of an influential class. Any exposure that normalizes smoking is detrimental to teens, and if we can avoid or at least reduce that exposure with a warning label and over-18 login, why on earth not?”

Can the idea of travel being glamorous in the minds of many people automatically translate into smoking being as glamorous simply because a forum for travelers who smoke is launched on FlyerTalk?

Please voice your opinion and have your say in this debate — either in the Comments section below or at the discussion on FlyerTalk which is currently active.

FlyerTalk is a trademark of Internet Brands.

7 thoughts on “Should a Forum for Smokers Be Launched on FlyerTalk?”

  1. DaninMCI says:

    As a non-smoker I have seen where smoking and travel is a problem. While I don’t consider it an issue for a hotel to be non-smoking as long as the hotel provides a place for smoking, like outside. I have traveled recently with a person who smokes on some long haul flights. As far as I can tell there is no place to smoke inside security at many airports. This is a problem for smokers as they have to exit the building to smoke which causes more people at security and can lead to missed flights, etc. DFW for example seems to only have one place (inside the terminal A American lounge) where smoking is allowed. Rumors are that AA will remodel this lounge soon and may do away with the lounge like they did at the D terminal. HKG has little smoking rooms around the airport which is a better solution. They used to have the little smoking lounges in many airports but these are going away. It’s a serious problem for smokers. Besides if we make them smoke in little glass huts inside the terminal then we can shame them into not smoking 🙂

    Oh and don’t overthink they whole “gee it’s on flyertalk so it might encourage people to do bad things”. With that logic you better never mention sex on planes, drinking, terrorist attacks or any other bad thing. A disclaimer would be enough I’d think.

  2. Oscar says:

    This is absolutely ridiculous. Having a forum for smokers and saying it will incite in any way the under age is like saying that having a forum for the LGBT community will turn people kids gay or like saying that a Forum about premium liquors will make them alcoholics. You are absolutley taking everything out of proportions and underestimating the discerning capacities of the tech and info saavy teenagers. Please let everyone have a voice and have a place to meet and comment on what matters to them.

  3. Bill says:

    FWIW, I’m a former smoker here, but I also am an advocate for free speech. I agree with those that call out the ridiculousness of a FT forum for smokers being somehow linked to inciting youth to smoke. If FT has sufficient demand from smoking travelers who want to have such a forum to discuss their issues, then so be it. I don’t see it having any impact on the rest of the FT community–young or otherwise.

  4. Jimmy W says:

    “The fact is that traveling itself is what is glamorous (yes, even when you suffer the indignity of being in a cramped seat next to a sweaty person for 6 hours, or find a hair in your bathtub, or have to walk half a mile to find a smoking lounge)”. There’s nothing glamorous about getting stuck next to a nicotine addict who reeks like an ashtray on a TPAC flight.

  5. Jessica says:

    The “inciting of youth” to smoke by having a smoking forum is just an excuse for saying no a concept that you don’t like. Like everything else, just saying “ITS FOR THE CHILDREN!!!!” or “ITLL CORRUPT THE CHILDREN !!!!” seems to be the couch that grown-ups hide behind when they don’t want to own up to what they really want to say…..which, in this case, is: I don’t like smoking, but that’s not a good enough reason to not allow a smokers forum, so I’ll say it’s about THE CHILDREN!!!!! Give the children some credit for not being automatically sucked into everything that scares you, and let the smokers collaborate on how to smoke in peace without bothering other people, or, you know…THE CHILDREN!!!!!

  6. DavidB says:

    Would there be a sub-forum for discussing Marijuana in those states where it’s legal?

    I don’t smoke, never have (er cigarets). But I have one or two friends who still do and they participate in the FT community. I’ve no objection to a new forum as there are legitimate reasons for discussions around smoking and traveling to take place. I don’t believe this will encourage anyone (under 18 or over) to take up the habit…just as I don’t jump on every deal I see in the MileageRun forum.

    One could argue that FlyerTalk itself is a home for the addicted and thus should be shut down to prevent us from encouraging one another — and naive newbies — to fly more and spend our money on MRs and such like.

    So as a longtime Evangelist in the community, I’ve no objection to such a forum.

  7. Tom says:

    Given all the stuff on the internet that kids can get in, it’s ridiculous to focus on this. Live and let live. I don’t smoke but they should allow this. Those that don’t like it don’t need to go there.

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