At BWI, chewers win freedom to choose Once a sticking point, airport gum sales are given a trial run


Good news for smokers, ear poppers and those worried about blowing bad breath on fellow airline passengers: Baltimore-Washington International Airport is easing its restrictions on chewing gum sales.

For 15 years, you couldn't buy the stuff there. Officials don't like the way it -- well, gums up the carpet.

"Sometimes you can't get it out," said janitor Donald Pressley, who does the best he can with a freeze-type spray and a spatula.

Complaints from smokers faced with smoking restrictions have prompted BWI to relent.

Since Labor Day, gum has been available, on a trial basis, at

some newsstands in Terminal B and the lower concourse near baggage retrieval.

The chewers seem to be behaving themselves.

"It looks like we are probably going to permanent sales," said deputy airport administrator Nicholas J. Schaus.

Until then, however, the airport will continue to play host to annoyed passengers looking for gum in all the wrong places. Newsstands are still gum-free in Terminals A, C, D, and E.

About 3 p.m. yesterday, Chicago traveler Jodi Onder and her 6-year-old daughter, Samantha, approached the Hudson News store in Terminal C. Samantha chews bubble gum to keep her ears from popping when she flies.

"You don't have gum? Are you serious?" Ms. Onder asked the clerk, settling for Tic Tacs.

A clerk at Hudson News said he turns down at least 40 would-be gum buyers each shift.

Janet Lyon was not taking any chances. While smoking a final cigarette inside a bar before her flight home to Houston, she patted her purse, where she kept her Trident Cinnamon.

"I'm either smoking or chewing gum," she said.

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