Return of Indoor Smoking at PA Casinos “Misguided and Dangerous” for Employees & Guests
“Indoor Smoking is a Pre-COVID Relic that Should Not Return”
Legislators Must Now Act to Close the Casino Loophole
June 28, 2021
Berkeley, CA — Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights President and CEO Cynthia Hallett released the following statement as emergency orders were lifted in Pennsylvania today and smoking returned to casinos across the state, putting at risk the health of employees and guests despite the known dangers of even brief exposure to secondhand smoke:
“Indoor smoking is a pre-COVID relic that should not return. Pennsylvania casinos have been thriving while operating smokefree, and the CDC has called smokefree policies enacted over the last 15 months a ‘silver lining’ of the pandemic. It’s misguided and dangerous to revert back and put the health of gaming employees and guests at risk. We are calling on Pennsylvania’s elected officials, including Governor Wolf, to support legislation to close the casino loophole and make casinos permanently smokefree indoors. Our request is simple: just move smoking outside, like every other business in society.”
More and more casinos nationwide are going smokefree. At least 160 sovereign Tribal gaming venues have implemented 100% smokefree policies during COVID-19, and half of all 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/.