New York Bill Could Force Hotel Guests Outside to Smoke

Proposed legislation would force visitors and tourists who smoke to light up out on the sidewalk with the natives.

If you’re a smoker, or close to someone who is, you are well aware that it’s getting more difficult to find a place to light up, especially indoors. If you are contemplating travel to New York, maybe to take in some Broadway shows or view the autumn leaves in the countryside, know that those options may be about to become even more limited.

Hotel guests visiting New York state would be forced to light up outside if a bill proposed by a New York lawmaker is passed.

Currently people can smoke in designated rooms at most hotels and motels in New York. But that would change with Bill A08371, proposed by Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski, D-New City. The bill would ban smoking in hotel and motel rooms across the state, according to the Poughkeepsie Journal.

“I’ll be honest, I spend a lot of time in hotel rooms,” Zebrowski said. “One of the things I’ve noticed is if you are above, below or next to a smoking room — even if you’re a non-smoker — it comes right through the vents.”

New York already has a state ban on indoor smoking, but rented hotel rooms are one of seven indoor spaces that are exempt from the ban. Other legal exemptions include private residences, automobiles, cigar bars, membership organizations and retail tobacco shops, the Journal reports.

If the bill passes, New York would join four states, Michigan, North Dakota, Vermont and Wisconsin, in banning smoking in all hotel rooms, according to CNN Money. New York hotel owners who violate the ban would be fined.

The potential ban is opposed by the tobacco industry. No surprise there.

Altria, parent company of Phillip Morris USA, maintains that business owners, not the government, should decide whether to ban smoking, the Journal said.

“In indoor public places where smoking is permitted, business owners should have the flexibility to decide how best to address the preferences of non-smokers and smokers through separation, separate rooms and/or high-quality ventilation,” Altria’s website reads.

Some large national hotel chains, including the Marriott, Westin and Hilton, already ban smoking at their hotels.

It’s unclear where other New York hotels stand on the matter.

“At this point, with the bill being introduced, we will go out to our 1,300 members, survey them and talk to them before we can give industrywide feedback,” said Mark Dorr, vice president of the New York State Hospitality & Tourism Association, which represents the state’s lodging industry, in an interview with the Journal. “So we really don’t have a position on it right now.”

Check out “Americans Are Smoking Less, Chewing More.”

What do you think about the proposal to ban smoking in New York hotels and motels? Sound off below or on our Facebook page.

Stacy Johnson

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