Friday, February 29, 2008

Cigarette Smokers Face $250 fine At Some Hotels

Lighting up at smoke-free properties could result in a $250 hotel-accessed fine.
By Mike Grasso

As reported last week on inFLIGHTout, Sheraton & Four Points Hotels announced a new policy of going smoke free at properties throughout the United States & Canada. The change matches a move previously made by Sheraton and other hotels, and while probably not the intended purpose, aligns with a larger structural effort nationwide to get people to stop smoking. Those who must smoke at smoke-free properties are designated small areas, away from the masses, to do their thing.

But, what if you're non-compliant with hotel policy? Say, you light up on your balcony, enjoy the couple minutes of pure pleasure the cig-stick affords - without incident, then carry on the rest of your day. All seems fine; smoke detector didn't ring, sprinklers didn't flood the room, nobody saw your sinning and deviant act. Until housekeeping arrives...

Turns out, evidence of your smoking may be collected and used against you when it's time to checkout. The Denver Post recently ran a story of a Courtyard by Marriott property slapping a guest with an additional $250 on their bill for cigarette butts found in his hotel room. Walt Disney World Resort Hotels will fine up to $500. Swisshotel in Chicago even awards their housekeepers $10 bucks for each smoker they catch. Think your credit card will save you? A Quality Inn owner from the Mid-west says physical evidence is sometimes needed when upset customers unsuccessfully plea with card issuers to reverse the fees.

So as more hotels swap "designated smoking room" signs with "no smoking," it seems smokers themselves will need to abstain from lighting up, otherwise they'll pay up.