Dennis Lanier and I were recently talking about an international trip experience. He reminded me that he had sat in smoking as we flew internationally. Every now and then during the plane ride, I would look at his section and barely see him through the haze of smoke. Now, smoking on a plane would look pretty crazy.
I have often thought about how thankful I am that no one can smoke on airplanes. Still, until recently, I could not remember how it happened.
Then, I read the obituary of US Senator Frank Lautenberg. His recent passing is a reminder of what one person can do.
Senator Lautenberg was known primarily as a liberal Senator from New Jersey. Until his recent death, he was the oldest serving Senator.(age 89)
He served nearly three decades in the Senate. He was the author of the bill that became law that threatened to withhold federal highway money from states, if they did not adopt a minimum drinking age of 21. Now, all 50 states require a person to be 21 years-of-age to buy alcohol. (since 1988)
The next time that you board an airplane and listen to a flight attendant reminding you that no passenger can smoke, you can thank Senator Lautenberg for being the driving force behind that law as well. Now, a passenger who is caught smoking can also be fined up to $5,000 and can be arrested when the airplane lands.
That “no smoking on domestic flights” law permanently took effect on February 25, 1990 , because of the lobbying efforts of airplane attendants and politicians like Senator Lautenberg’s who were willing to stand up against the tobacco lobby. Those are two pretty important laws that are part of Senator Lautenberg’s legacy.
For pic o’ day, I am staying with the thought of reward: