Bye Bye Smokers
Ok, so my title may be somewhat harsh, but I must admit, whenever I learn of a city banning smoking in restaurants, at beaches, and in the bars, it puts a smile on my face. Chicago is currently in a power struggle over pursed lip puffing. New York City made the headlines last year after enacting a ban. And, the entire state of California has been discouraging public display of the habit for several years now.
Since municipal bans make me grin, you bet Westin's decision this week to make all of its U.S., Canadian, and Carribean hotels smoke-free had me jumping for joy. That's right, starting in 2006, all 77 properties will snuff out smoking indoors. Westin justifies its decision by citing that 92% of its customers request a non-smoking room and many patrons become slightly "upset" when the nicotine-less vareity are unavailable. Also consider the reduced maintenance costs and, voila, it makes good business sense. So good for Westin for leading the way!
Smokers caught a break this week when the Feds allowed lighters to be taken on planes again (over 8 million were confiscated this past year), but Westin has made their basking in the butane glow short lived.