by Art Pfenning | August 01, 2004

As laws curtailing smoking in public places become increasingly strict nationwide, M&C went to meeting planners to get their take on smoking at meetings. More than 525 planners responded to the online survey, with about one in five (18 percent) indicating they are smokerschart    Interestingly, 38 percent said smoking plays no part in their choice of facilities. The majority of planners do consider the smoking needs of attendees, however. Half of those polled said they sometimes or always choose nonsmoking facilities for their meetings or events. On the other hand, nearly one-third (32 percent) sometimes or always choose facilities where smoking is permitted.
     The clear majority (62 percent) would like to see more cities enact broad nonsmoking laws. Still, 82 percent of the planners polled said these laws have no bearing on their venue choices. 
    chartNineteen percent of respondents believe hotels need to offer more nonsmoking guest rooms, while 8 percent would like to see more smoking rooms. A bold 9 percent admit to having asked a nonsmoking facility to allow smoking for their events.
    One quarter of the planners surveyed also find complaints about smoking rise when meetings are held at casino hotels. This is a rather large percentage, given that more than half of the respondents (52 percent) said they don’t use casino hotels for their events. 
   Another 18 percent said they field more smoking complaints at overseas venues. Again, this is significant when considering that 63 percent of those surveyed do not hold meetings outside of the United States.chartchart