In Pennsylvania, “Group Wants to Keep Casinos Smoke-Free”
“Old arguments from some in the industry predicting doom and gloom…have repeatedly failed to materialize.”
June 1, 2021
Berkeley, CA — As smokefree casinos are thriving, the effort to make the temporary policy permanent in Pennsylvania gained fresh attention this weekend as the Citizens Voice published a story on the topic.
KEY POINT: “Old arguments from some in the industry predicting doom and gloom about how this policy would hurt business have repeatedly failed to materialize,” ANR President Cynthia Hallett said. “We’re glad to see Pennsylvania casinos thriving and providing a safe, healthy environment for their workers and guests.”
Citizens Voice (Wilkes-Barre, PA): “Group Wants to Keep Casinos Smoke-Free”
By Denise Allabaugh
May 30, 2021
The state imposed a temporary smoking ban at casinos to curb the spread of COVID-19 but an anti-smoking group wants it to be permanent. Cynthia Hallett, president and CEO of Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights, said going permanently smoke-free would be good for business for Pennsylvania casinos.
“In the year 2021, we all know smoking indoors is a bad idea. It’s time for casinos to catch up with the rest of society,” Hallett said. “COVID has changed everything and guests more than ever want to enjoy the entertainment experience casinos provide in a smoke-free setting.”
Doug Harbach, spokesman for the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, said smoking was formerly permitted on up to 50% of the square footage of the gaming floor of casinos. Last year, the board temporarily banned smoking inside casinos based on COVID-19 safety guidelines. The Pennsylvania Clean Indoor Act determines how smoking is handled, Harbach said.
Harbach said elected officials would need to decide whether or not to change the Clean Indoor Air Act to make the temporary smoking ban at casinos permanent.
In the meantime, Hallett said the Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights organization is urging Pennsylvania’s elected leaders to make “this successful smoke-free policy permanent because it’s good for guest and employee health and good for business.”
“Old arguments from some in the industry predicting doom and gloom about how this policy would hurt business have repeatedly failed to materialize,” Hallett said. “We’re glad to see Pennsylvania casinos thriving and providing a safe, healthy environment for their workers and guests.”
More and more casinos nationwide are going smokefree. 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. Opinion research routinely, and increasingly, shows the vast majority of guests prefer smokefree indoor casinos. That’s not surprising considering that among young adults, 90 percent are nonsmokers.
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/.