Hotels Stealing a Priceless Commodity


Not your Louis Vuitton luggage, your precious tech toys or the treasured stuffed souvenirs you spent three hours trying to win during your trip to the amusement park.  Some hotels are taking something far more valuable from unsuspecting guests--their health.

According to a new study, if you are spending the night in a nonsmoking room at a hotel with a partial smoking ban, you are not fully protected from harmful exposure to so-called “third-hand” smoke.  Researchers at San Diego State University discovered that tobacco pollution can easily congregate on surfaces in both smoking and nonsmoking hotel rooms.

“Our findings demonstrate that some nonsmoking guest rooms in smoking hotels are as polluted with [third-hand smoke] as are some smoking rooms,” the study’s lead author wrote. “Moreover, nonsmoking guests staying in smoking rooms may be exposed to tobacco smoke pollutants at levels found among nonsmokers exposed to secondhand smoke.”

In other words, you are potentially putting yourself and your family at risk if you book a room in a hotel that allows smoking anywhere in the building.  According to researchers, nonsmoking rooms in hotels with partial smoking bans had significant evidence of air pollution and high levels of surface nicotine that were more than twice the rate as rooms in hotels with total smoking bans.

What’s’ more, the effects of cigarettes were not confined to hotel rooms. The study also found that hallway surfaces near smoking rooms had high levels of nicotine.  Translation:  Your kid is sucking in polluted air each time he runs by a smoking room on his way to the lobby or hotel pool.

If you want to avoid the dangers associated with second or third-hand smoke, your best bet is to stay in a completely smoke-free hotel.  Fortunately, most major hotel chains are 100% smoke-free, so you don’t have to bust your budget in order to pay for a room with clean air.


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Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.