High-flying smoker gets low-down on law

HERE's proof smoking really is bad for you.

A man who lit up on a onehour flight from Brisbane to Rockhampton yesterday morning found out the real cost of smoking when he was arrested and now faces a $500 fine.

Staff caught Todd Rutherford smoking in the toilets of the mid-morning Virgin Blue flight and immediately contacted police who were waiting on the tarmac to arrest him.

The clearly bewildered Mr Rutherford was then led away to the North Rockhampton police station and charged.

A Virgin spokeswoman yesterday said passengers were aware of the law.

"It is very clearly communicated to them before takeoff that this is a non-smoking flight,'' she said.

"We have a zero tolerance policy and we contacted police .?.?. it's a federal offence.''

But passengers seemed to be largely unaware of the commotion. "I saw the police waiting there but I didn't know why,'' Sydney tourist John Oxineas said.

"It seems a bit hard-hearted, I thought he must have had guns or something.''

But another passenger, who asked not to be named, said the man got what he deserved.

"It's illegal, everyone knows you can't smoke on plane.



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