Americans for Nonsmokers Rights

November 5, 2021

Gov. Minner: Delaware Casinos “All Experienced Their Highest Revenue Periods” After The State Required Them To Operate Smokefree Indoors

Berkeley, CA — Cynthia Hallett, president and CEO of Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights, released the following statement upon the passing of former Delaware Governor Ruth Ann Minner:

“We mourn the passing of Governor Minner, who was a true champion for the right to breathe clean air free of secondhand smoke in workplaces and public places, including casinos. Because of her commitment and leadership, Delaware saved countless lives by passing the Clean Indoor Air Act in 2002 and fought efforts led by gaming and Big Tobacco to roll it back just a year later.

“Delaware has shown that industry’s sky-is-falling predictions of doom and gloom by going smokefree fail to materialize, and Gov. Minner offers an example that elected leaders around the country should follow. Governor Minner showed that prioritizing the health and well-being of its residents and visitors is always the right thing to do. We offer our deepest condolences to her family as they mourn her passing.”

Delaware became the second state in the country to implement a comprehensive smokefree workplace law when it passed the Clean Indoor Air Act into law in 2002 and overcame efforts to roll back the law in 2003. The legislation brought smokefree air to the state’s offices, restaurants, bars, casinos, live music venues and other workplaces and public places.

In a letter to smokefree advocates sent in 2006, Governor Minner wrote: “Some predicted that the Clean Indoor Air Act would hurt the bottom line of businesses, even forcing some to close. Conversely, there are more restaurants and bars licensed in Delaware now than when the Act went into effect. Delaware’s three slot machine casinos have all experienced their highest revenue periods in the last two years.”

Further, Delaware Business Now reported: “Battling entrenched opposition, Minner helped push through the Delaware Indoor Clean Air Act that banned smoking in most indoor spaces. Its most controversial provision banned smoking in bars and casinos. The act contributed to a decline in the state’s once high rate of smokers. Predictions of the legislation leading to the closing of bars and restaurants did not occur, with the number of taverns and restaurants actually increasing over the years.”

Americans for Nonsmokers’ 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 and