First up is Ben Bethel, owner of the Clarendon Hotel in Phoenix, who just started selling blucigs e-cigarettes to his guests as a way to eliminate the drama of chasing after guests who flaunt the hotel's No Smoking policy.
Ben writes in comments under the HotelChatter story saying:
I hope that more and more hotels follow our lead. If you're a non-smoker you should also be in favor of this, because there's nothing worse than having your floor or hotel room reek like cigarettes - and imagine how wonderful Vegas would smell if it didn't smell like smoke everywhere! That's my number one reason for not going to Vegas - I can't stand the cigarette smoke!
Our heart hurts anytime someone says they don't want to visit Las Vegas but Bethel is not alone. Hotshot restaurateur Danny Meyer, he who brought the masses of NYC the Shake Shack burger, has also put down Vegas because of the deodorizers that the casinos use to combat the smoke smell. His reaction against them is so strong, he won't open a restaurant in Las Vegas because of it. He told the NY Times in August:
“I actually have a bad reaction to . . . the synthetic deodorizers they pump through to eliminate smoke. Really, those smells almost sicken me.”
That said, he did concede later that Shake Shack might work in Vegas. We're guessing provided that he doesn't have to actually go to Vegas to open it.
We doubt Las Vegas' tourism economy will be faltering anytime soon because of people who can't stand cigarette smoke but it is a troubling issue. Yet, short of forcing people to smoke e-cigarettes or putting all smokers in their own smoking box, cigarette smoke is as much of a part of the culture of Las Vegas as gamblers, showgirls, Elvis and girls stumbling home at 7 a.m. in the morning with their too-high heels in hand.
Still, there are some casinos that do a better job at minimizing smoke smells more than others. We're partial to the jasmine scent at The Venetian but The MGM Grand and Bally's both surprised us with just a generic "fresh" smell.
If you really cannot stand the smoke in Vegas, do your gambling on a weekday morning instead of a Friday night. Just be sure to avoid the slots. Slot-playing grannies never take the day off!
Are you staying away from Vegas because of the smoke? Or maybe you have your own smoke-free bubble that you bring with you when you gamble? Either way, let us know what you think of smoking in Vegas in comments below!