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Posted: 9:10 a.m. Friday, Sept. 23, 2016

Atlanta airport may convert smoking rooms to cigar shops

Airport security at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport
Airport security at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport

By Marcy Williams

Smokers may have to cough up money to light up at the Atlanta airport. 

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport intends to convert nine smoking rooms into cigar shops.  Those shops would require a minimum purchase or payment of a fee before someone can smoke inside.

The airport is looking for a contractor to convert the current space into shops offering hand-crafted cigars and tobacco products.  Plans call for the shops to open next year. 

Airport spokesman Reese McCranie says Hartsfield-Jackson has considered closing the smoking rooms outright but wants to take passenger demand into consideration. 

"Even though smoking usage has declined, there is still a demand post-security, especially by international passengers," he tells the AJC. 

Airport officials believe passengers without access to a smoking room might try to sneak a cigarette in a bathroom or other restricted area.

Other major airports including Chicago O'Hare, LAX, SFO and LaGuardia and JFK in New York ban smoking indoors although it is generally permitted outside.

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