ANR UPDATE, 34(2), Summer 2015
Traveling This Summer? Travel Smokefree!
Traveling without exposure to secondhand smoke is becoming the norm, from airports and airplanes to hotels and rental cars. As we head into the summer travel months, it is exciting to look back and reflect on the progress we have made to ensure that people can enjoy their vacations without exposure to secondhand smoke.
2015 marks the 10-year anniversary of the first major hotel brand, Westin (part of Starwood Hotels), going completely smokefree at all US, Canadian, and Caribbean locations - except Westin Las Vegas. After Westin and Starwood led the charge, Marriott and its 10 hotel brand names, followed suit. Unfortunately, other major hotel chains like Hyatt, Hilton, and InterContinental/Holiday Inn still have not adopted brand-wide smokefree policies even in the U.S., let alone in their international markets. Today, approximately 135 U.S. cities require all hotels to be smokefree indoors. Plus, all hotels are now smokefree by law in Indiana, Michigan, North Dakota, Vermont, and Wisconsin. (See the full list of cities and states on our website.) The science is clear that secondhand smoke and thirdhand smoke spread throughout hotels if smoking occurs anywhere inside, including guest rooms. Inside a building, it's shared air.
Airplanes and Airports
This February, we celebrated the 25th anniversary of smokefree flying everywhere in the United States. Today, most U.S. and many international airports are smokefree indoors. However, a handful of major U.S. hub airports like Atlanta Hartsfield and Salt Lake City still have indoor smoking, thanks to Big Tobacco. Other airports have been slow to deal with indoor use of e-cigarettes, and the Department of Transportation continues to delay finalizing a rule to ensure that e-cigarette use is not allowed onboard passenger aircraft.
Unfortunately, there are still beautiful places in the world that continue to expose both visitors and residents to secondhand smoke. But ANR encourages travelers to keep your smokefree expectations high; the majority of travelers are nonsmokers and prefer environments free of deadly secondhand smoke. If you have a bad travel experience, make your voice heard by the company that failed to provide a smokefree atmosphere. Your feedback to the places you visit is a powerful force for change and will help to make these places smokefree. Whether it is outside a museum or park, or inside a restaurant, bar, casino, airport, or hotel, please leave feedback for management on comment cards or in online reviews, letting them know that you, like most travelers, prefer 100% smokefree air (including air free of toxic e-cigarette emissions).
New Technology, Same Issue
Today there are many new platforms for travel, such as the lodging booking and hosting site Airbnb and ride services like Lyft and Uber. It is important that we hold "sharing economy" travel platforms to the same smokefree standards as traditional travel-related businesses. Many of these new businesses do not yet have clearly developed policies with respect to smoking. Although Lyft does explicitly state on its website that it has a no-smoking policy for both drivers and passengers, Airbnb and Uber do not explicitly state their position on smoking. Uber has a blog post on etiquette, in which the company states that no smoking is allowed in cars. For Airbnb, it is at the discretion of the host as to whether or not the room, apartment, house, etc. is smokefree. When hosts create listings, they have the ability to check "Smoking Allowed" under a "Special Features" category. It is unclear whether there are penalties for failure to disclose a listing as non-smokefree.
ANR has numerous resources to help you book a smokefree vacation. On our website, you can check out our list of cities and states that require hotels and motels to be 100% smokefree: http://www.no-smoke.org/pdf/statelocallawshotelrooms.pdf. You will also find information on smokefree airports, hotel chains, cruise ships, resorts and recreation areas, rental cars, and more on our website. Can't find what you are looking for? Have a question about a particular destination? Call our offices at (510) 841-3032.
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