Smoke-free airlines and the role of organized labor: a case study

Am J Public Health. 2005 Mar;95(3):398-404. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2004.040592.


Labor unions play an important role in debates about smoke-free worksites. We investigated the role of flight attendants and their unions in creating smoke-free air travel. We used case study methodology to search tobacco industry documents and labor union periodicals and to interview key informants (i.e., people identified as having first-hand information and experience in the campaign to make airlines smoke free). We then compared findings across these data sources. Tobacco industry strategies against the establishment of smoke-free worksites failed in the case of airlines, largely because of the efforts of flight attendants and their unions. Other factors contributed to the failure but likely would have been insufficient to derail industry efforts without strong stands by the flight attendants. This case illustrates the potential for successful partnerships between unions and tobacco control policy advocates when developing smoke-free worksite policies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollution, Indoor / prevention & control*
  • Attitude to Health
  • Aviation / organization & administration*
  • Communication
  • Cooperative Behavior
  • Documentation
  • Humans
  • Interinstitutional Relations
  • Labor Unions / organization & administration*
  • Lobbying
  • Occupational Health* / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Organizational Case Studies
  • Organizational Objectives
  • Organizational Policy
  • Periodicals as Topic
  • Public Health / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Public Health / methods
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors
  • Tobacco Industry / organization & administration
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution / prevention & control*
  • United States
  • Ventilation / standards
  • Workplace / organization & administration*


  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution