There was a time when airplane passengers could enjoy smoking a cigarette thousands of feet up in the air on the way to their destination, but that has been a memory of the past for quite a while now.

However, one woman (@ladyastor) was left baffled after discovering a mini ashtray inside the airplane toilet on the flight she was on - despite there being a smoking ban on all flights.

Sharing footage of her discovery, she wrote: “Still have ashtrays even though smoking has been banned on airplanes for over 20 years??”

And the confusion is understandable since laws introduced in the 1980s banned flight smoking on US airline flights, other airlines soon followed and by 1988 smoking was banned on any domestic flight that had a duration of under six hours, Business Insider reported.

In the year 2000, smoking was banned on flights of any kind in the US - including international flights.

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While back in the day, smoking inflight was as normal as ordering a drink, that certainly isn’t the case nowadays as in 2019 just 14 per cent of the US adult population are smokers, according to the CDC.

But one person was able to provide an answer to the passenger’s question.

Fellow TikToker, Hank Green gave an insight as to why this feature is strangely still included on aircrafts.

“I know the answer! I know the answer to this question,” said Hank enthusiastically.

@hankgreen1

#stitch with @ladyastor it’s actually required by the FAA to have a safe place to put a lit cigarette.

“It’s because if you’ve got some maniac who craving a cigarette so bad they go into the bathroom to smoke and then they put the cigarette into the trash can they could start a fire.”

He continues: “So we have that little thing for the maniac because it still happens, people still smoke on airplanes... and they think they’re gonna cover it up and they [does smoking gesture] and they put it in the trash can and then there’s a fire on the plane.”

Not ideal.

It seems that this was news to many people after Hank’s answer received 4.7m views, with over 900,000 likes and thousands of comments from people who were just learning about this fact for the very first time.

One person wrote: “I thought I was just flying in old planes.”

“It seems like this is a good example of harm reduction,” another person said.

Someone else added: “I just thought coz the planes don’t really change that often they’re just still on some old models.”

“It’s a metaphor. You put the ashtray right between the wall but you don’t let people smoke to use the ashtray,” a fourth person joked, adapting a popular line from the book The Fault in Our Stars - a book that was written by Hank’s brother John Green.

Hank’s answer is correct as it is still a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requirement to have an ashtray on board, as a safety precaution like the TikToker outlined.

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