Can a Pilot Be a Smoker?

As you might already know, smoking has been banned on flights for many years, but what are the restrictions for pilots smoking on planes?

The rules will be different in many places, but smoking is banned on all flights due to the problems that occur from it.

Something that you might be wondering is if you are allowed to smoke if you are a pilot, and whether pilots are allowed to smoke in the cockpit. This is something that we are going to tell you about in this article to give you a better understanding of what you can expect.

There are lots of rules and regulations that will need to be followed by pilots, and the rules surrounding smoking are just one of them.

If you are set on being a pilot, then it is best to find out what the rules are, so you know exactly where you stand.

Can You Smoke and Be a Pilot?

You can smoke and still be a pilot, just perhaps not at the same time. The majority of airline pilots do not smoke, but of course, there will be some that do.

Ever since the airlines went smoke-free, they still actually allowed pilots to smoke on planes. Their reasoning for this was that nicotine withdrawal symptoms could pose a potential safety risk.

Since this time, the rules have become much stricter, and some airlines will even refuse to hire a pilot that smokes. However, the majority of airlines will hire people that smoke, but you will not be allowed to smoke on board the plane, so this could be difficult for some people. Many pilots resort to things like nicotine patches to get them through a flight.

Do Pilots Smoke in the Cockpit?

Smoking has long since been banned on flights, and smoking is not permitted in the cockpit. Smoking and e-cigarettes will not be seen in the cockpit, as it is not allowed. The batteries that are in e-cigarettes actually cause a fire risk, which is why they are not allowed to be used during a flight or even checked in with your luggage.

The last thing that anyone wants is for second hand smoke to be wafting into the cabin, especially if you have paid good money for better seats, which are often at the front of the plane nearest to the cockpit.

Should Pilots Be Allowed to Smoke on Flights?

Pilots should not be allowed to smoke on flights as the effects of smoking can actually be damaging mid-flight. As well as this, most people on the plane will not be happy with breathing in second-hand smoke throughout their journey.

One of the major effects that smoking can have on a pilot are on the respiratory and visual systems. Something that is present in smokers is reduced oxygen and increased carbon monoxide levels.

Somebody that does not smoke will have carbon monoxide levels of less than 0.5%, but heavy smokers will have levels of up to 15%. So, this amount of blood will be unavailable for carrying oxygen.

A smoker is at a much higher risk of hypoxia, or decreased oxygen to the brain. This effect will increase the higher the altitude. As well as this, the eyes are quite sensitive to reduce levels of oxygen, which can compromise a pilots night vision. Smokers will have an almost 40% reduction in night vision at 5,000 MSL without oxygen.

Another risk that comes along with smoking during a flight is the increased risk of a fire. Lighting a cigarette in the cockpit adds unnecessary danger to the flight, and the consequences can be fatal, which is why it is highly discouraged.

Why Was Smoking Banned on Flights?

Smoking was banned on flights for a multitude of reasons, one of them being that it was unpleasant for staff and passengers that didn’t smoke.

Once the effect of second hand smoke became known, it is understandable why people wouldn’t want to be exposed to it on a flight. As well as this, everything on the plane would stink of cigarette smoke, including passengers and their luggage.

There were members of staff that would experience things like a shortness of breath and other issues that are associated with second hand smoke inhalation. The risks of lung cancer would have been much higher had this continued. Smoke-free workplaces were essential, as it wasn’t fair on the employees.

Some planes would have had smoking and non-smoking sections of the plane, but you can be sure that the air would be circulated throughout the cabin and that everyone would be subjected to the smoke.

Another big issue that was caused by the smoke was that the outflow valves that work to regulate the cabin pressure in airplanes would often become clogged with tar and nicotine.