Northern Ireland’s non-smoking airport will charge £1 for using its smoking area.

Airport news for Travel,Belfast on 09/05/2011.

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Belfast International Airport says it will start charging people £1 to light up in its designated smoking area. The airport, which says it is a non-smoking facility, is to make smokers pay for the designated area provided for them past check-in.

The airport says it had responded to requests for an allocated area where smokers can light up after they’ve checked in. However, the area termed by the airport a ‘specialist facility’ is to be paid for by the smokers themselves.

For several years, all public places in Britain have been off-limits to smokers. As this includes airports, Belfast International Airport says it recognised a demand from smokers for a dedicated facility in which they could grab a smoke while waiting to board their flights.

The designated smoking zone is policed by a special coin-operated machine. Smokers insert a £1 coin into the machine and it opens the doors to provide access to the only place in the airport where smokers can legally light up for a nicotine fix.

Forest, a lobbying organisation that supports the rights of smokers to enjoy their habit, has, perhaps surprisingly, come out in favour of the airport’s initiative. The organisation said it was encouraged by the airport’s provision of a designated area for smokers and that the facility was only mandated by legislation the lobby group termed ‘unreasonable’.

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