A move this month by Westin Hotels & Resorts to go smoke-free may open the door to similar policies by competitors.

"I think it will be the start of a trend," says Joe McInerney, president of trade group American Hotel & Lodging Association.

He says other chains are considering the move to smoke-free hotels. In some instances, he says, the growing tide of state and local anti-smoking regulations may force the move.

Westin became the first big chain to adopt such a policy, banning smoking throughout its 77 U.S., Canadian and Caribbean lodgings: guest rooms, lobbies, meeting rooms, restaurants, bars — everywhere.

Westin said only 8% of customers were asking for smoking rooms. It went smoke-free to provide guests with a cleaner, more comfortable and healthier hotel stay. Competitors must weigh the possibility of alienating customers who smoke, and possibly some non-smoking sympathizers.

At least 200 North American hotels now prohibit smoking in rooms and other indoor areas, according to a survey of major chains and an analysis of media reports by USA TODAY. In addition, many bed-and-breakfasts and inns ban smoking.

Some major chains say they have one or more smoke-free hotels.

Get the full story at USA TODAY