St. Louis Ritz-Carlton Offers Most Creative Interpretation Yet of Smoking Ban Rules

Categories: Smoking Bans
ritz lion.jpg
The Ritz-Carlton Lyin Lion
The Post-Dispatch reports this morning that the St. Louis Ritz-Carlton has become Clayton's first business ticketed for violating the city's smoking ban that went into effect last July.

The pricey hotel received the citation Saturday while hosting its annual Cigar Club party in its main ballroom. But here's where the story gets good:

Ritz-Carlton's general manager reportedly told the cops that he believed the hotel did nothing wrong because Clayton's law exempts twenty percent of hotel rooms from the smoking ban. According to the hotel's GM, the ballroom should count as one of the exempted rooms. At least, that's how the Ritz-Carlton attorneys interpreted the law.

Errr. Not! Here's how the ordinance (viewable online) reads when it comes to hotels:

Hotels and motels may permanently designate twenty percent (20%) of guest rooms as smoking rooms. A hotel or motel may only change the specific rooms that are designated as smoking rooms once during any twelve (12) month period.
As you can see, the 20 percent exemption is for bedrooms occupied by smoking guests of the hotel. It takes an extremely creative interpretation of the law to think it would exempt public rooms in the main body of the hotel.

Clayton Mayor Linda Goldstein tells the daily that the Ritz-Carlton alibi might be reason for reviewing the smoking ban and tightening any possible loopholes.

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Michael J. McFadden
Michael J. McFadden

Chad wrote, "That's clearly not the intent of the law. It's to give smokers who pay to stay overnight in the hotel and opportunity to light up in their rooms."

Actually Chad, I'd disagree. If that WAS the intent of the law it would say that hotels were required to offer enough Free Choice rooms to accommodate smoking customers. Instead it limits the hotels to offering AT MOST a choice of 20% of their rooms -- a figure likely to be less than the demand once one takes into account that rooms often house more than one person.


Michael J. McFadden
Michael J. McFadden

So at a once-a-year party for the CIGAR CLUB the hotel manager allowed people to smoke (gasp!) and he could go to jail for three months for it eh?

Makes about as much sense as the rest of the nonsense the Antismokers put out. Smoking bans are built on lies: lies about "deadly threat" of even the smallest wisps of smoke in well ventilated venues and lies about the lack of economic effects of their bans.

Read "The Lies Behind The Smoking Bans" at:

to get a better idea of just how they fool legislators and the general public through twisting words and jugglling numbers. You'll be surprised.

Michael J. McFaddenAuthor of "Dissecting Antismokers' Brains"


Your interpretation is just as 'creative'.... it does not say "bedrooms occupied by smoking guests of the hotel" as you have implied... it says 'guest rooms'....

The room in question is a room with guests in it.... seems perfectly reasonable to me, and certainly not nearly the ridiculous stretch you made in your own (incorrect) interpretation


C'mon "noway." That's clearly not the intent of the law. It's to give smokers who pay to stay overnight in the hotel and opportunity to light up in their rooms. "Guest rooms" is bedrooms. It's not ball rooms.


You should learn English grammar before you write articles. "C'mon" is not a word. I suppose you meant "Come on". In a contraction, an apostrophe replaces missing letters. So let's assume your apostrophe replaces "the letter O. What happened to the E? Why not just write it correctly as "Come on"?

"...give smokers who pay to stay overnight in the hotel and opportunity..." That should be " opportunity...".

How can you say the ballroom is not a guest room? It is guests that use the ballroom.

Private businesses should be able to decide for themselves what legal activities they allow in their establishments. Non-smokers don't have any right to force smoke-free businesses. It flies in the face of the ideals of freedom this country was founded upon.

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