Smoke at Meetings was Re: [68ATTENDEES] Returning to Prague (was: Re: Hilton Prague)

Ray Pelletier <> Mon, 26 March 2007 17:08 UTC

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Date: Mon, 26 Mar 2007 13:10:09 -0400
From: Ray Pelletier <>
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To: John C Klensin <>
Subject: Smoke at Meetings was Re: [68ATTENDEES] Returning to Prague (was: Re: Hilton Prague)
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As a non-smoker from a family where one parent died from smoking-related 
causes I am very sensitive to the matter.We will be more diligent on the 


John C Klensin wrote:

> For those expressing a desire to return --soon and often-- to Prague 
> and his hotel, one thought...
> I like the hotel and the staff and the facilities.  I mostly like the 
> city.   Under the right circumstances, I'd be delighted to come back.
> I am also sympathetic to, and agree with, those who say "if you decide 
> to come into a particular culture, you accept the norms of that 
> culture and work with them".
> However,..
> I think there are issues about health and accessibility that supercede 
> _any_ other considerations of meeting site choices. In order to have 
> effective IETF meetings that are open to all participants and 
> contributors in the IETF, we must put health-related criteria above 
> all others.   If a country or city or hotel does not, or cannot, 
> provide an environment in which people can attend a meeting for a week 
> without the certainty of serious and immediate health damage from the 
> atmosphere (indoor or outdoor), I will defend their right to make that 
> decision, but the IETF should not even consider meeting there.   If a 
> facility and city are not largely wheelchair-accessible, the IETF 
> should not even consider meeting there.  And so on (although I don't 
> think the list is very long).
> There may be tradeoffs if a facility can provide a truly effective 
> smoke-free environment or adequate mobility accommodations -- telling 
> an IETF participant that he or she may not be able to comfortably 
> leave the meeting hotel for a week is unattractive, but may not be a 
> showstopper if there are adequate facilities within the meeting 
> hotel.  But telling people that the cannot attend and participate and 
> remain healthy is, from my perspective, just not acceptable if we have 
> any other possible choice.
> In the case of Prague, we heard the argument many times in the week 
> before the meeting that this choice of city was reasonable because 
> there are lots of participants in Europe and, to a European, one city 
> is as good as another.  Ok.  But, if one believes that, then there is 
> no excuse for going to a city that hasn't accepted growing norms, even 
> in Europe, about indoor air quality (or, for that matter, 
> accessibility standards or anything else that belongs on this short 
> list of absolute priorities.
> Even the "need to look at the people various visa regulations will 
> keep out" issue is, to me, secondary to this one even though I 
> consider that one very, very, important and hope we will never again 
> hold two consecutive meetings that de facto exclude the same people.
> I am luckier than Randy because my body's potentially serious 
> reactions to small amounts of tobacco smoke can be kept within 
> reasonable levels by a combination of caution and drugs.  But I don't 
> like some of the drugs and, more important, they significantly reduce 
> my ability to function (as some people may have noticed this week).  
> To either of us, this type of environment is a fairly clear "don't 
> come and participate remotely if at all" message.   I do not believe 
> IETF should be delivering that message, especially to active 
> contributors.
>    john
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