182358 Emerging trend in smokefree air: Smokefree casinos

Monday, October 27, 2008: 9:06 AM

Cynthia Hallett, MPH , Executive Director, Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights, American Nonsmokers' Rights Foundation, Berkeley, CA
Smokefree workplace laws that cover private and public businesses, restaurants, and bars are now commonplace. Nearly 63% of the U.S. population is protected by a local or state law that covers one or more of these workplaces; 31% by a law that includes all of these. A new workplace has stirred the debate and resurrected old arguments about loss of business or unfairly alienating patrons who smoke. “Casinos are the new bars,” and like any other workplace, there are employees who deserve the right to a safe and smokefree work environment. At present, only five states address smoking in casinos and 14 address smoking in other gaming venues including race tracks, racinos, bingo, and card clubs.

There is no legal requirement nor is there any legitimate economic argument to justify an exemption for casinos from smokefree laws, and casinos may be subject to legal liability if they continue to expose employees and patrons to secondhand smoke. Numerous efforts are underway to promote smokefree casinos, through voluntary policy change and legislation, and at both tribal and non-tribal casinos. This presentation will discuss scientific evidence on the health effects on casino workers, changes in indoor air quality in smokefree and smoke-filled casinos, economic impact of smokefree casinos, campaign successes and challenges, including industry interference. Participants will also learn about voluntary efforts addressing tribal casinos and the importance of respecting sovereignty while advocating for smokefree air. Lastly, resources that assist in smokefree casino campaigns, including how to engage casino employees, will be shared.

Learning Objectives:
1) Identify elevated secondhand smoke exposure health risks among casino workers and explain benefits of smokefree casinos 2) Access resources, including scientific and economic research, tools kits, etc. to assist in smokefree casinos policies/laws 3) Articulate the rationale for including casinos in any smokefree workplace law

Keywords: Advocacy, Worksite

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: as the Executive Director of Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights, I am intimately familiar with the issue and help to directly and indirectly provide technical assistance to those trying to address smokefree issues and policies.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.