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Should Amtrak allow smoking again?

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MARC Rider

Conductor
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Apr 5, 2011
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Baltimore. MD
If smoking were allowed, wouldn't smoking marijuana have to be permitted when trains pass through states that allow marijuana? Marijuana has a vile smell, far worse than cigarette tobacco.
I believe that Amtrak, being some sort of "Federal property," prohibits the use of weed on its trains (and probably in the stations, too) even in the states where it's legal. I suppose this would also prohibit the use of edibles and other forms that aren't smoked. I'm fine with people using weed (as long as they're not driving while stoned), but I agree that the reek of weed is even worse than that of tobacco. I think it's the new varieties, as I don't remember the smell of pot being that vile back when I was in college. Or maybe it was masked by the pervasive smell of tobacco smoke back then :) Come to think of it, I'm surprised that my lungs are functional now after all that secondhand smoke.
 

Barb Stout

OBS Chief
Joined
Mar 13, 2019
Messages
665
My experience with smokers on trains these days (prior to Covid) is that they don't stand far enough from the doors when lighting up even when there are signs and it is not enforced by staff. Worse, is when it's the conductor that is smoking.
Then there is the SCA that says "stay right by the door" and one realizes you have to stand across from the middle of the car to get away from smokers on both sides.
Yes, to me the "fresh air" stops are definitely smoking stops as the stream of smoke always heads my way no matter how the wind is blowing. Same with campfires. I therefore don't usually step out during the "fresh air" stop because I am amazingly sensitive to cigarette smoke. I stretch my legs by walking around the train and up and down the stairs.
 

Devil's Advocate

Sarcastic Misanthrope
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Messages
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Texas
As with sending kids up chimneys to clean the soot, the world has moved on from thinking smoking is desirable or healthy.
Many countries around the world continue to smoke as if there are no health concerns and even in countries like the US smoking tobacco is being replaced by other products like dip and vaping.

If smoking were allowed, wouldn't smoking marijuana have to be permitted when trains pass through states that allow marijuana?
Just because something is legal doesn't mean everyone is forced to allow it. No shirt, no shoes, no service. As a federally regulated entity Amtrak would also be at risk of future liability if they allowed marijuana as a matter of policy.
 

Lana J C

Train Attendant
Joined
May 16, 2019
Messages
16
Maintaining smoke free Amtrak cars is essential. If they want to add an open air smoking car that 'might' be okay as long as it doest allow smoke to drift into other cars. They need to work with platform managers to provide butt cans at every fresh air (haha)/ smoke stop and locations away from the doors for smoking.
 

Lana J C

Train Attendant
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May 16, 2019
Messages
16
In addition to mortality amongst protected CA Condors from eating discarded carcass parts from animals killed with lead bullets, Lead from bullets can also make it unsafe for human consumption. (Sorry a little off topic)
 

Cal

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Jan 23, 2021
Messages
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Location
Greater Los Angeles Area
I am also a definite no to smoking on the train. However, back in 1972, I took my first out of state trip from Waldo, FL to Fayetteville, NC (changing in JAX) when I was young and a smoker. There was a "women's lounge" on the train to Fayetteville where smoking was permitted. I recall at the time thinking that the lounge was very comfortable and a very "cool" place to congregate. Thinking back, this was an awful set up. Any woman that wanted to use the restroom had to walk through a thick cloud of smoke to use the facilities. Yuck!! I have been a reformed ex-smoker for about 35 years and cannot stand the smell of smoke.

I find it very uncomfortable when smokers stand near the doors of the train during the "fresh air" breaks.
Good for you! I also cannot stand the smell of smoke, although I've never smoked.
 

jpakala

Train Attendant
Joined
Jul 13, 2014
Messages
27
An unmentioned factor is the huge healthcare costs bourne by all of us owing to smoking. My wife & I recall feeling ill when in sleeping car bedrooms years back that had smoke odor from years of smokers using them. It penetrates and remains, just as you can find in used clothing worn by smokers.
 

Palmetto

Conductor
AU Supporter
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May 12, 2014
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Miami
This is crazy. It’s not 1975. That ship sailed twenty years ago. I’m not going to pay big bucks for a sleeper that smells of stale smoke. There aren’t very many truly bad ideas, but this one quite literally stinks.
Well, I'm an ex-smoker, and I agree. I used to like the smell of smoke. I can't stand the smell these days.
 

Larry H.

OBS Chief
Joined
Dec 22, 2006
Messages
976
An unmentioned factor is the huge healthcare costs bourne by all of us owing to smoking. My wife & I recall feeling ill when in sleeping car bedrooms years back that had smoke odor from years of smokers using them. It penetrates and remains, just as you can find in used clothing worn by smokers.
I agree 100%. In the Golden Era of rail I used to hate going into to cars that wreaked from years of cigarette smoking. One time coming home from College for the week end on the Missouri Pacifc from Kansas City to St Louis the cars were pretty much full but a man sitting across the aisle from me was smoking cigars, and to me that is even worse. Finally he finished it and I thought, good now maybe it won't be so awful. A minute later he started a new one he smoked the rest of the trip.. I never smoked but if you hung around at a bar on a train car with smokers when you took your shirt off you could smell the smoke as you pulled it over your head, ugh.
 

Barb Stout

OBS Chief
Joined
Mar 13, 2019
Messages
665
Many countries around the world continue to smoke as if there are no health concerns and even in countries like the US smoking tobacco is being replaced by other products like dip and vaping.
What is dip?

I haven't been around anyone vaping, but I assume there is some kind of gas being produced given the name is rendered from "vapor". Does it have a smell that bystanders can detect? Does it bother other people's eyes or nose? Is there any literature that sidestream from vaping can cause health problems? I know there is some that indicates problems for the vaper him/herself, but I don't think I have heard anything about bystanders.
 

AmtrakBlue

Conductor
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Delaware
What is dip?

I haven't been around anyone vaping, but I assume there is some kind of gas being produced given the name is rendered from "vapor". Does it have a smell that bystanders can detect? Does it bother other people's eyes or nose? Is there any literature that sidestream from vaping can cause health problems? I know there is some that indicates problems for the vaper him/herself, but I don't think I have heard anything about bystanders.
 

Ferroequinologist

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Jan 18, 2016
Messages
269
Many countries around the world continue to smoke as if there are no health concerns and even in countries like the US smoking tobacco is being replaced by other products like dip and vaping.


Just because something is legal doesn't mean everyone is forced to allow it. No shirt, no shoes, no service. As a federally regulated entity Amtrak would also be at risk of future liability if they allowed marijuana as a matter of policy.
I would not travel on Amtrak if any sort of smoking were allolwed, especially marijuana smoking, but I don't see why Amtrak would have legal problems allowing marijuana smoking where allowed any more than they would have problems allowing smoking of cigarettes - in separate areas of course.
 

Devil's Advocate

Sarcastic Misanthrope
Joined
May 24, 2010
Messages
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Texas
I don't see why Amtrak would have legal problems allowing marijuana smoking where allowed any more than they would have problems allowing smoking of cigarettes - in separate areas of course.
You don't see how federal regulations can affect the use of a controlled substance in the service of interstate commerce?

If smoking were allowed, wouldn't smoking marijuana have to be permitted when trains pass through states that allow marijuana? Marijuana has a vile smell, far worse than cigarette tobacco.
⬆ Your original claim was that Amtrak would have to permit marijuana if they allowed tobacco smoking but you still haven't explained what that theory was based upon or how you came up with it.

I haven't been around anyone vaping, but I assume there is some kind of gas being produced given the name is rendered from "vapor". Does it have a smell that bystanders can detect? Does it bother other people's eyes or nose? Is there any literature that sidestream from vaping can cause health problems? I know there is some that indicates problems for the vaper him/herself, but I don't think I have heard anything about bystanders.
Vaping emits a cloud of moisture and chemicals on exhalation. Out in the open it may not be a problem but when people are driving and vaping there are periods where you cannot see them through clear windows because the resulting fog is so thick. Vaping is still in the wild west era with chemical cocktails that are considered a trade secret and regulations that are mainly focused on advertising and selling to children. In an enclosed area I would not want to be around a bunch of overly trusting vaping addicts who think anything that is not a cigarette must be safe.
 

flitcraft

OBS Chief
Joined
Jan 10, 2018
Messages
746
The federal rules on marijuana, assuming their validity, trump state rules; that's the supremacy clause of the constitution in action. When marijuana was legalized in Washington state, colleges had to warn students that, despite the fact that weed was legal in Washington, it was still totally banned anywhere on campus. We were told that permitting violation of federal law would risk the university's qualification for federal benefits, including federal research money and, more seriously, the right of students to receive federal financial aid. In theory, marijuana users and sellers in non-prohibition states could face federal criminal prosecutions. I believe Jeff Sessions threatened to make US attorneys do just that, early on in his stint as AG.

No matter what happens in the future--I suspect that marijuana will ultimately be re-classified from its current federal classification--I highly doubt we will ever see Amtrak allow marijuana smoking on trains, in stations, or on platforms. Regardless of the law, it's highly annoying to a large number of customers. Businesses who make decisions that anger and annoy much of their customer base don't stay in business for long.
 

WWW

Service Attendant
AU Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Nov 18, 2018
Messages
139
Location
MSP
Like the airlines - ABSOLUTELY NO SMOKING - I worked for a major airline for 29 years and the cabin cleanliness difference was like night and day
when NO SMOKING was initiated. At first one could smoke anywhere on the plane and then it was restricted to a section (usually the back of the
cabin) and then no smoking none at all period.
All those dirty ash trays and the SMELL in the upholstery and unsightly stains were eventually weaned out of the cabin and a breath of fresh air restored.
It is still a bother when a smoker boards a flight and reeks of smoke - I would suppose that this would be true when traveling on Amtrak.
Not much can be done about that but this contempt for non smokers is a concern. This topic can get serious - my rights and the smokers -
I will leave it that - JUST SAY NO TO SMOKE "PLEASE" !
 

Qapla

Conductor
Joined
Jul 15, 2019
Messages
1,681
Location
Gator Country Florida
I feel bad for the smokers because there are so few smoke stops.
I do not feel bad for them at all - should we also feel bad that the trains don't stop at liquor stores for those addicted to alcohol? or drug stores for those addicted to prescription pain killers?

People must eat to live, it is not a choice but a requirement to keep living - I feel for those who don't have food they can eat while riding long distance (the current selections available onboard are not exactly health friendly) ... people do not have to smoke to live, it is a choice - not a requirement to keep living.
 

MARC Rider

Conductor
Joined
Apr 5, 2011
Messages
2,552
Location
Baltimore. MD
I do not feel bad for them at all - should we also feel bad that the trains don't stop at liquor stores for those addicted to alcohol? or drug stores for those addicted to prescription pain killers?

People must eat to live, it is not a choice but a requirement to keep living - I feel for those who don't have food they can eat while riding long distance (the current selections available onboard are not exactly health friendly) ... people do not have to smoke to live, it is a choice - not a requirement to keep living.
Well, they do sell alcohol on beard trains, and you're also allowed to drink on board. To deal with the problems encountered by nicotine addicts who can't get their fix, they could easily just sell nicotine gum in the cafe car.

As for food, most passengers, even on the long distance trains aren't riding so far that they really need food. Serving decent food is really more of a way to entice travelers to make longer trips and pay premium fares that cross-subsidize the whole service, but if the cost of providing the enhanced on-board service is more than the fare premium, than it's really no financial benefit to Amtrak.
 
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