It is no secret that smoking is prohibited while flying, and hence, smokers gobble cigarettes likes candies before they board an airplane. If the designated smoking rooms at the airport are any indication, India has a very large population of smokers.
However, one may find it weird to see ashtrays on board every aircraft. Wonder why? Here is the answer:
The Code of Federal Regulations, chapter I, sub chapter C, part 25, sub part D, section 25.853, paragraph g states that,
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Regardless of whether smoking is allowed in any other part of the airplane, lavatories must have self-contained, removable ashtrays located conspicuously on or near the entry side of each lavatory door if the ashtray can be seen readily from the cabin side of each lavatory served.
It also says that if the ashtrays are broken and/or are not in working condition, they must be replaced withing 72 hours.
Well, it does sound crazy, but it has a story behind it. Matt Simmons explained the mystery and wrote,
Back in 1973, a flight crashed and killed 123 people, and the reason for the crash was attributed to a cigarette that was improperly disposed of. The FAA has decided that some people (despite the policies against smoking, the warning placards, the smoke detector, and the flight attendants) will smoke anyway, and when they do, there had better be a good place to put that cigarette butt.
Although, once upon a time smoking while flying was a norm and “stylish” thing to do, it has now been completely prohibited for safety concerns.