Non-smoking Hotel Room, Please!

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Have you ever requested a non-smoking hotel room, only to walk in to your room and get a sneaky suspicion it is definitely NOT a nonsmoking room? Maybe there’s an ashtray on the table, you smell a strong powdery masking scent that doesn’t quite cover the acrid smoke smell, or your sinuses suddenly clog up and your eyes start watering.

A call down to the front desk to inquire can be met with the insistence that the room is nonsmoking, or perhaps the entire floor, but not the whole hotel. They may offer to let you change rooms if they aren’t fully booked. Unfortunately, even after a cigarette in a nearby room has been put out, the smoke can still travel under the door, through the air conditioning vents, and remain on drapes and couches.

The 2006 Surgeon General’s report on secondhand smoke revealed such bad news that hotels nationwide started cleaning up their act. Westin pioneered a 100% smoke free environment in all of their hotels across the US, Canada, and Caribbean. This extended to all of their restaurants and bars too. Marriott quickly caught on, and made all of their US properties smoke free.

Today, the list of smoke free hotels in the US includes all Marriott, J.W. Marriott, Renaissance Hotel, Ritz-Carlton, Fairfield Inn, Courtyard by Marriott, Residence Inn, Spring Hill Suites, Sheraton, W Hotels, Aloft, Westin, Le Meridien Element by Westin, Four Points by Sheraton, The Luxury Collection, St. Regis, Comfort Suites, Cambria Suites, Shilo Inns, and Heartland Inn properties.

Some individual Hilton, Hyatt, Holiday Inn, Best Western, and Hampton Inn locations may be smoke free, but their US portfolios as a whole are not.

With 42 million smokers in the US there is still a demand for smoking rooms, even if that number is decreasing. As more and more hotels move to 100% nonsmoking, it can be difficult for smokers to find a compatible room. www.smoketels.com is a website that was started to give smokers an easy place to find and book hotels guaranteed to have smoking rooms. Doing a quick search, I was quite surprised to find that the Hyatt Regency San Francisco Airport hotel actually has eight smoking rooms.

Doesn’t California have a non-smoking hotel room policy, I asked myself. How about Washington?

Turns out, they don’t. As of April 1, 2014, state laws only require all hotel rooms be 100% smoke free in:

Indiana
Michigan
Nebraska
North Dakota
Wisconsin

Local laws in some cities require hotel rooms to be 100% smoke free. But there are none in DC, Washington, or Texas, and the small list for California cities is:

Morro Bay
Petaluma
Santa Clara County
Santa Monica
Tiburon
Walnut Creek

Here’s a link to the full report. What state do you live in, and does this news surprise you?

I think it is only a matter of a few years before smoking will be banned in all US hotels, but in the meantime it is good to know which properties/chains have smoking rooms and which ones do not.

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