In response to the numerous “smoking hot” messages sent to my business and personal email addresses after the publication of my recent “Mad men and mad women” post, I thought I might respond with a short follow-up piece to placate any readers — and smokers — who may feel marginalized, penalized or victimized by our hotel’s policy towards smokers and smoking within our premises, or by my own strong views on the subject.
First of all I would like to thank all respondents for reading the post and for your open and honest feedback, which is always welcome and appreciated whether you agree with me or not.
Secondly, I would like to let those same respondents know that the staff members who service our single floor of well-ventilated smoking rooms are rotated on a weekly basis to protect their health, which is of course our primary concern at all times, and in addition they receive free comprehensive annual medical checkups along with free medical care if required.
I would also like to inform all readers and respondents, that as the non-smoking general manager who cares deeply about the health and well being of all our staff and guests, including our smokers, I moved voluntarily from my previous spacious non-smoking penthouse apartment on the 14th floor to a smaller apartment on the smoking floor when it opened several years ago in order to monitor the level of smoke-related effects within the rooms and the corridor.
As a long-time resident of that floor (I am still there), I am pleased to say the effects are not immediately noticeable due to an excellent air-handling system, although we are well aware of the lingering and pervasive effects of carcinogenic secondhand smoke — deadly effects that we try to minimize and eradicate with meticulous daily and weekly deep-clean programs.
It is our desire to follow the lead of many other countries around the world, including my adopted country of Thailand, where smoking in hotels is banned 100% — a move that will inevitably cause a certain amount of disruption to our business as a result of the possible loss of the rapidly shrinking smoking business segment, but we will get over that, and as a consequence be able to guarantee a fresh room to all our guests throughout the hotel.
In my previous post I failed to mention several of the reasons that caused me to become an anti-smoking crusader, which include seeing the terrible injuries caused to a young child left alone in a hotel room many years ago after he had found a complimentary box of matches in the ashtray and accidentally ignited the entire box along with the highly flammable contents of the room.
I have also seen with my own eyes the terrible human suffering caused by smoking, including the painful death of my own cigarette-smoking father from lung cancer at an early age and the terrible property damage caused by irresponsible smokers who endangered lives by smoking in beds in poorly managed hotels where fire-detection and fire-suppression systems were inoperative, resulting in catastrophic loss.
So once we have finally managed to eliminate the scourge of cigarette smoking from our hotels here in Pakistan, and indeed worldwide, I am hopeful the next items to be extinguished will be the expensive cigars puffed in newly opened “chic and trendy” cigar lounges, where once again we see hotel and restaurant staff members’ health put at great risk for the sake of a few extra dollars on the bottom line.