Hospitality workers have received threats and some have been victims of violence after asking guests to stop smoking.
A survey of over 5,000 hospitality workers revealed first-hand accounts of employees who were hit, spat upon, strangled and even sexually abused after dealing with smokers. Survey respondents included chefs, restaurant managers, hotel managers and waiting staff.
As many as 40 percent of respondents indicated that asking customers to stop smoking was risky and possibly injurious to their health. One respondent noted that after asking a guest to stop smoking, the guest began masturbating. Another female guest threatened to lodge a sexual complaint against the employee who insisted she stop smoking. Still another guest pulled a belt round an employee's neck and tried to strangle him. And adding insult to abuse, one guest told an employee to **** off and subsequently tried to punch him while being ejected.
The level of violence suffered by some employees while trying to enforce a smoking ban was unnerving. Yet an overwhelming majority of hospitality staff noted feeling happier that smoking is not permitted and an equal number felt healthier.
That said, nearly a third of survey respondents intimated that their hospitality business would suffer because smokers would be turned off by the smoking ban. A full 16 percent noted that revenues had dropped. Although nearly a third admitted the caliber of customers visiting their workplace had improved.