Smoking lamp still burns on flight deck
If the pilot of your airliner wants a smoke before takeoff, or even while flying the plane, it's okay with the Federal Aviation Administration.The FAA pondered a petition from a coalition of consumer groups before deciding the contention that smoking impairs performance "is too inconclusive to warrant issuance" of a rule. The petitioners sought to ban smoking in airline cockpits and to prohibit flight crews from smoking for eight hours before takeoff. The FAA concedes that "smoking can reduce the blood's oxygen-carrying capacity," but says there is no evidence at present that this has a deleterious effect on performance.
An 18-month study is under way in an effort to determine if there is an association between saccharin and bladder cancer. It began in March.The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and National Cancer Institute are co-sponsoring the $1.4 million