As Oakland A’s Explore Las Vegas, Advocates Call on MLB to Join the Fight for Smokefree Casinos
Citing MLB’s Track Record on Tobacco Issues, Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights Urges MLB “To Make Your Continued Commitment to Public Health Clear Once Again”
MLB Should Urge Las Vegas Casinos to Finally Adopt Smokefree Indoor Air Policies that Protect Workers, Guests and MLB Players
June 29, 2021
Berkeley, CA– As executives for the Oakland Athletics make repeated visits to Las Vegas to tour sites of potential stadiums and meet with business leaders and elected officials, smokefree casino advocates are calling on Major League Baseball (MLB) “to make your continued commitment to public health clear once again by publicly and privately urging Las Vegas casinos to finally adopt smokefree indoor air policies that protect workers and guests alike. MLB players will only benefit from smokefree air when they visit casinos while playing in Las Vegas someday.”
In a letter sent to MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred, Cynthia Hallett, president and CEO of Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights (ANR), touted the public health benefits of casinos adopting smokefree indoor air policies, citing the years of work and progress by MLB to root out the use of tobacco products throughout the baseball community.
“MLB has long been a pioneer in major league sports to curb the use of tobacco among players as a way of protecting their health and setting an example for fans of all ages. As it currently stands, only two franchises, the Cardinals and Royals, are located in cities that allow smoking inside of casinos. As you continue your consideration of Las Vegas or other cities as new home cities for the Athletics or other MLB teams, we hope you will contribute to creating safe environments in communities that host MLB franchises,” she wrote.
Hallett also leaned on prior statements made by Commissioner Manfred, as well as Manfred’s track record of ridding the sport of tobacco.
“We understand the issue of tobacco in MLB has been a major issue under your tenure as Commissioner. You have previously praised policies ridding tobacco products from stadiums, clubhouses, dugouts and playing fields, and you’ve recognized tobacco as a ‘health risk for our players— one we’d like to avoid.'”
ANR also noted that Manfred accepted an award in 2018 in recognition of his work to make half of all baseball stadiums tobacco free and to ban the use of smokeless tobacco in the minor leagues.
“Allowing smoking indoors, which is standard operating procedure at nearly every Las Vegas casino, flies in the face of MLB’s values, track record and public comments on tobacco use,” wrote Hallett. “Ignoring this issue while attempting to leverage Las Vegas as an alternative to Oakland would undermine years of work by MLB — and you personally — to support public health initiatives, specifically around the use of tobacco.”
The letter also noted the casino industry’s growing trend towards smokefree policies.
“More and more casinos nationwide are going smokefree, including Park MGM on the Las Vegas strip. At least 160 sovereign Tribal gaming venues have implemented 100% smokefree policies during COVID-19, 23 states require commercial casinos to be smokefree indoors, and nearly 1,100 gaming properties do not permit smoking indoors. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in March that smokefreee casino policies implemented over the last year have been a ‘silver lining’ of the pandemic.”
Read the entire letter.
ABOUT AMERICANS FOR NONSMOKERS’ RIGHTS
Americans for Nonsmoker’s Rights (ANR) is a member-supported, non-profit advocacy group that has been working for 45 years, since 1976, to protect everyone’s right to breathe nontoxic air in workplaces and public places, from offices and airplanes to restaurants, bars, and casinos. ANR has continuously shined a light on the tobacco industry’s interference with sound and life-saving public health measures and successfully protected 61% of the population with local or statewide smokefree workplace, restaurant, and bar laws. ANR aims to close gaps in smokefree protections for workers in all workplaces, including bars, music venues, casinos, and hotels. For more information, please visit https://no-smoke.org/ and https://smokefreecasinos.org/.