From 2000 to 2006, project staff and consultants at Kids Involuntarily Inhaling Secondhand Smoke (KIISS), Roseville, Calif., worked with the restaurant industry to increase the number of state and local laws banning smoking in public places. From 2006 to 2008, KIISS expanded its focus to work with bars, hotels and labor unions as well.
To persuade the hospitality industry to support comprehensive smoke-free air laws, or at least remain neutral towards such laws, the KIISS project director and consultants:
- Created videos and pamphlets with testimonials from industry leaders.
- Cultivated connections with executives at restaurant trade associations.
- Wrote op-eds for trade publications and daily newspapers.
- Developed a network of media contacts.
By the end of the project, 25 states had passed and implemented comprehensive smoke-free air laws in public places, including restaurants, compared to just four when it began. In addition, several major hotel chains—Westin, Marriott and Sheraton—as well as several smaller chains and independent hotels decided to become smoke-free.
While KIISS cannot take full credit for the new state laws, it did influence the industry response. In the 25 states, about 24 percent of restaurant associations shifted from opposing the laws to supporting them, and nearly 63 percent shifted to a neutral position, according to the project director. Another 13 percent remained opposed.