Las Vegas Sun

November 15, 2018

Currently: 48° — Complete forecast

Malls extinguish smoking

Boulevard and Meadows mall shoppers who smoke are seeing red today.

That's because the malls have instituted no-smoking policies.

"I've already talked to several customers about it, and they say they're not going to shop here," said Donna Staples, who has been coming to the Meadows for four years.

"It's not fair," Ursula Silas said as she exhaled a puff of smoke. "They give us a small area (at the Meadows) to smoke in and then they take it away."

But Heather McCombs, marketing manager at the Meadows, said a smoke-free shopping environment will benefit all customers.

"The reason why we're switching is in response to our customers," McCombs said. "They have been requesting a no-smoking environment."

Sue Brandt, marketing manager at the Boulevard, concurred.

"Quite honestly, we don't expect any problems," Brandt said. "We have found that on the whole, smokers are polite. They really respect the needs of others."

Staples said she agrees that smokers respect the needs of others -- so what's the problem?

Seated alone at one of the tables outside the Glamour Shots shop at the Meadows, Staples said most smokers stay away from the food court area "to respect the others."

In the same breath, she recalled what happened when the Santa Fe hotel-casino designated a large area just for nonsmokers -- "nobody used it."

The new Galleria at Sunset mall in Henderson and the Fashion Show and Forum Shops at Caesars malls on the Strip allow smoking.

Silas had stepped away from her station inside Regis Hairstylists for a break Thursday night, her spot outside the door close enough to keep her eye on the shop.

"I'd love to have 15 minutes to walk outside for a smoke, but it's not possible," Silas said. "I think a lot of people are going to keep on smoking, no matter what."

But if they do, she's heard, they will be fined.

Both malls have already made outdoor provisions for smokers by setting up tables, chairs and receptacles.

A Boulevard Mall regular could only throw up his hands.

"It's an invasion of our rights," he said, declining to give his name. "You should be able to smoke where you want to, or at least have a spot indoors. What are we gonna do when it's 120 degrees outside? Die?"

"I know it's an ugly habit," Staples said, a hint of smoke passing from her lips as she tapped her cigarette on a metal ashtray. "But they make you feel like a criminal. All we need is a small area."

The no-smoking policy does not affect public restaurants in each mall such as the Vineyard at the Boulevard and Ricardo's at the Meadows.