By Don Richards, NBC12 Regional Vice President and General Manager
RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - I notice the built-in ashtrays in some airplanes when I fly. It tells me that this plane has been around awhile.
Twenty years ago this February, smoking was banned on every flight over the Continental US. Today it seems hard to imagine there were actually smoking sections on passenger jets. You could have smokers in the 20th row while non-smokers were seated in the 19th row.
When the ban went into effect many were unhappy. There were stories of desperate travelers sneaking a smoke in the restroom. Yet somehow, with the passage of time, the notion of smoking in-flight is as antiquated today as boarding a flight without having to take off your shoes and other clothing.
The new non-smoking ban in restaurants is not popular with everyone. It has been reported that some bars or restaurants might simply ignore the law and risk the small fine that goes with the violation.
Really? Can't we just move forward? It won't be long before the idea that people could once smoke in a public restaurant will seem very quaint. Yes, once upon a time smokers could sit in this section while kids were seated in this section.
I think we can all live with this change.
(c) 2009. WWBT, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.