I like to think of myself as an inquisitive human being, so it's no surprise that every time I board a plane, I have the same thought: Why on earth do these things still have ashtrays in the toilets when smoking on airplanes has been banned for years?
It's a fair question, and I'm not the only one who's been thinking it.
Went on an A380 recently. Why do new planes still have ashtrays?— Catherine W (@catnz) February 5, 2017
why do airplane bathrooms have ashtrays if smoking on planes is extremely illegal as hell— Terry Macawliffe (@Zircean) November 23, 2016
I'm glad I'm not alone in this.
While your automatic thought might be that we've all just been flying on super old planes which still have ashtrays because they were made back in the days before smoking mid-air was widely banned in the 90s—it turns out that's not the case. And TBH, it's quite reassuring, because I would like to think they'd have updated the planes we risk our lives in every time we fly with modern, developed technology.
But the real reason for the existence of ashtrays on modern-day planes is perhaps even more reassuring for the nervous flier: They exist for a very important safety reason. In a recent Telegraph article which reveals various secrets about aircraft and flying, it explains that the Federal Aviation Administration (also known as the FAA) lists an ashtray in the toilet as a legal requirement for "minimum equipment."
This is because if anyone were to light up a cigarette mid-flight (although they'd be sticking two fingers up to the law in doing so), the safest place to put the stick out is where? You guessed it: an ashtray. Because what would the alternative be? Trying to stub out a lit cigarette on a plane seat and risk causing a fire? No thanks.
So it actually makes complete sense when you think about it. Isn't it great to learn something new every day?
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com/uk. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.