|Smoke-free a trend for hotels|
|Written by Kristen Wegrzyn, Daily Vidette Reporter|
|Monday, 28 February 2011 21:38|
Currently, Wisconsin and Michigan are the only states in the United States that have mandated that 100 percent of hotel and motel rooms must be smoke-free.
Illinois is one of 28 states that require all hotels to have a certain percentage of hotel rooms that are designated non-smoking. Illinois requires at least 75 percent of hotel and motel rooms to be smoke-free, according to American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation.
Although most states are not forcing hotels to make the choice to be 100 percent smoke-free, some hotels are choosing to create a smoke-free environment to accommodate their guests.
In 2006, Westin became the first hotel chain to ban smoking in their U.S. chains and more have followed in their footsteps including Marriott, Choice’s Comfort Suites, Starwood’s Sheraton and Four Point, according to Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, non-smokers who are subjected to secondhand exposure of cigarette smoke causes an estimated 3,400 cancer deaths each year in the United States.
Smoking in hotels raises issues other than health concerns. Jeff Pritts, the general manager at the Bloomington-Normal Marriott Hotel and Conference Center, explained that smoking in hotels causes a physical cost to the hotels.
“It becomes a physical cost to the hotel to try to recover smoking rooms and to get products in there then that don’t smell. You really can’t just spray over it and have it go away,” he added.
“The feedback we get is people love to work in a smoke-free atmosphere. And our customers like it. The last thing you want when you’re being served your dinner is to have someone smelling like smoke if you’re a non-smoker,” Pritts said.
Adrian Lyde, assistant professor of health sciences, has had experience working at the front desk of a hotel.
“My experience was that few issues arose unless a guest had, or believed he had, reserved a non-smoking room had to be placed in a smoking room,” she said.
Pritts explained there are fewer complaints in a hotel that is smoke-free.
“The worst thing was when you had to put somebody in a smoking room on a sold out night that was a non-smoker. We heard complaints all the time. Once we eliminated the smoking rooms, we just didn’t hear complaints,” he said.
Lyde said laws like the Smoke Free Illinois Act have had a wide spread impact but those kinds of laws that regulate people’s behavior is not enough.
“Our society also needs to provide effective health education that teaches young people knowledge, skills, and dispositions they need to resist behaviors that contribute to ill health, especially behaviors that lead to addiction, like use of tobacco products,” she said.