Wednesday, November 19, 2008

USA Today: Smoking on Way Out at U.S. Hotels

USA Today reported earlier this week that the number of lodgings prohibiting smoking indoors has tripled in the last three years. USA Today cited American Automobile Association (AAA) data that shows there are now more than 8,300 smoke-free lodging establishments in the United States. California has the most of any state with 1,040. The totals are undoubtedly higher because AAA does not evaluate every lodging facility. This is all good news for travelers who care about their health and for hotel owners and operators who no longer have to clean the residue and odor left by smokers.

Joseph McInerney, president of the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA), is quoted in the article saying, "Making a hotel smoke free is the right thing to do because it protects guests and employees from secondhand smoke." Ironically, AH&LA did not list 100 percent nonsmoking as part of its just-released green strategy. The strategy includes 11 points including digital thermostats and recycling that define hotels as "green." To AH&LA, it is apparently still OK to allow smoking and be considered a green hotel at the same time. That does not make any sense at all to me, given what we all know about the dangers of secondhand smoke. I should not just criticize AH&LA. Many hotel companies still allow smoking yet position themselves as "green" companies.

The best news revealed in the article? All Sheraton and Four Points hotels will be 100 percent nonsmoking by the end of the year.

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