You may have never noticed it, but every single aircraft has a tiny ashtray right next to the lavatory door. It pulls out from the wall and it even has the cigarette symbol on it so it’s definitely an ashtray.
But inflight smoking has been prohibited since the late 1980s – early 1990s, so why do new planes still have ashtrays?
Well, despite nobody smoking on airplane’s nowadays, ashtrays on aircrafts are still a legal requirement. According to the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA), the toilet ashtray is part of the list of a plane’s “minimum equipment” and there’s a pretty good reason for it. (the article continues after the ad)
Simply said, there still needs to be a safe place to put a cigarette, just in case someone decides to have one on board. Unfortunately, there have been attempts to smoke on a plane, and, according to flight attendant Heather Poole, it’s hard to spot the smokers because they know how to hide their actions by covering the smoke detector.
Since some people are going to smoke anyway, the FAA decided to make ashtrays on planes a requirement, so that people don’t just throw their cigarette butts in the trash.