Airport charges smokers £1 to light up before jetting off

Ruth Doherty

Smokers who want a puff before jetting out of Belfast International Airport will now have to pay £1 for the privilege.

The non-smoking airport said it had responded to a need for a place where passengers can some after checking in, but that the cost of the 'designated smoking area' would be covered by those who use it.

Those looking to calm their nerves with a nicotine fix will have to put a £1 coin in a slot machine that operates the doors to the smoking area.

Explaining the tobacco tax, the airport issued a statement that read: 'We recognised that there was a demand for a smoking facility from some customers given that all public places (including airports) are now, and have been for a number of years, non-smoking.

'However, providing a specialist facility for a relatively small number of users is expensive to build and to maintain so it is not unreasonable that a small charge should be levied for the use of the facility.'

Although some smokers might be put out by the charge, pro-smoking organisation Forest welcomed the move.

Spokesman Paul Rowlandson told the Daily Mail: 'It is encouraging that Belfast International is making provision for travelling smokers.The fact that smokers will be partially exposed to the outside elements is not the fault of the airport.

'The modest charge of £1 for entry to the smoking room seems fair, providing that the charges go towards the maintenance of the smoking facility, as the airport assures us they will.'

He added: 'At some other airports one can pay £40 for entry to a VIP lounge, but still be unable to smoke.'

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What do you think of the £1 smoking fee? Do you think it's fair? And do you think smokers should be catered for at all? Leave your thoughts below...