The Utah Air Travel Commission has scheduled three hearings this week to explore the issue of smoking on commercial flights. The public is invited to appear and offer testimony.
Three specific subjects will be covered at the hearings, said UATC commissioner Glade Sowards.1. Is it in the public interest to ban all smoking on commercial aircraft within the United States?
2. Is there an economically viable method to isolate smokers on aircraft so non-smokers are not exposed to their smoke?
3. An evaluation by the airlines of the new law which now prohibits smoking on flights of two hours or less.
"We are not trying to prove any particular point," said Sowards. "The Utah Air Travel Commission is charged with looking after air matters, and the commissioners decided to hear from the people on this issue."
Speaking against the smoking ban will be Dr. Guy B. Oldaker, a scientist spokesman for the R.J. Reynolds tobacco company.
Speaking in favor of the ban will be Katharine Manning, who has testified frequently on behalf of the U.S. Surgeon General's office. The Surgeon General recently issued an opinion that tobacco is an addictive drug.
Also appearing at the hearings will be representatives of various airlines who will offer comments on the issue and the response so far to the limited smoking ban. The American Medical Association, American Cancer Society and various other health organizations will monitor the sessions but will not be a part of the formal presentations.
Moderator of the hearings will be Salt Lake attorney and commission member Robert Campbell.
The first hearing will be at noon, May 25, at the University of Utah Hinckley Institute of Politics.
The second hearing will be at 7 p.m., May 25, in the Wildcat Theater at Weber State College, Ogden.
The third hearing will be 7 p.m., May 26, at the Utah Valley Community College, Provo.