After watching bars and restaurants becoming smoke-free across Europe, noting the in-creasing strengthening of the anti-smoking movement, and feeling pressure from some of its exhibitors and media, ispo show management of the Munich, Germany, show have approved an entirely smoke-free trade show starting with the winter 2006 show.
In July, the OutDoor Show in Friedrichshafen had implemented a 100-percent smoke-free recommendation and put steel tops on all ashtrays or removed them. Ispo had been under increasing public pressure, including from SNEWSÂ®: If the OutDoor show could do it, if pubs in Ireland could do, and if restaurants in Italy could do it, there was no reason ispo could not be ahead of the curve and jump on the no-smoking train.
"We will announce the initiative with posters, in our newsletter, on our website, over pub-lic intercom during the show and through other communication vehicles," said Tobias Groeber, now ispo show director, "and step-by-step the entire trade show grounds will be-come a smoke-free zone."
In an announcement scheduled for next week, ispo is noting that since sport is inseparable from fitness and wellness, the directors decided it only made sense to go in this direction. Already, the show in winter 2005 had made the outdoor and ski halls (three of 14 in win-ter) smoke-free areas, and it had announced in late summer its intent to spread the smoke-free zone to include eight of 14 halls, including running and fitness areas. (See SNEWSÂ® story, Aug. 25, 2005, "On-floor smoking diminishing at European trade shows" -- make a click here to read.)
Although not more than a couple of years ago, ispo management had often blamed the out-cry against smoking on North American visitors, not all no-smoking advocates came from across the ocean. Even smokers SNEWÂ® had spoken with from Italy or Scandinavian had told us they'd like no smoking in the halls.
"We are very happy about the non-smoking rule at ispo," said HervÃ© Chabert of Patagonia in Europe. "As many other companies in our business, we had been requesting this com-mon sense rule for a few seasons. After all, when smoking is getting banned from most public places all over Europe, it is only natural for the sporting goods industry to promote a healthier trade show environment as well."
One outspoken American was Menno van Wyk, CEO of Montrail. He said, "I am, of course, delighted to hear that ispo has committed to making all of ispo smoke free."
SNEWSÂ® began covering the smoking issues in 2002 with its first story advocating a smoking ban in July 2002: "Time to ban smoking in ispo halls? Debate continues across the pond" (make a click here to read).
Ispo's outdoor competitor, the OutDoor show, also had positive words: "We are delighted that ispo/Messe MÃ¼nchen have taken this move and fully support the initiative," said Mark Held, executive director of the European Outdoor Group. "A no-smoking policy won't change the world and we're not pretending it, but it signals an intent and a determination to work on issues of environment and health that we think is greatâ€¦. Well done, ispo."
The winter ispo show will be Jan. 29 to Feb. 1, 2006, in Munich (www.ispo.com).