217484 Your paycheck or your health: Secondhand smoke in casinos

Monday, November 8, 2010 : 11:24 AM - 11:42 AM

Annie Tegen, MPH , American Nonsmokers' Rights Foundation, Berkeley, CA
Cynthia Hallett, MPH , Executive Director, American Nonsmokers' Rights Foundation, Berkeley, CA
Smokefree workplace laws sprang up in the early 90's and have been widespread in the US over the past decade. These laws started with patrons' demand for a less smoky environment, asking for non-smoking sections in office workplaces and restaurants. As science pressed on, the dangers proved perilous and the effort quickly became a workers' rights issue. Advocates began demanding 100% smokefree environments, as they learned there is no safe level of exposure. Flight attendants fought for their right to an in-flight smokefree workplace. Laws passed protecting workers not only in office settings, but in restaurants and bars. By 2010, 28 state and 528 local laws have been enacted that prohibit smoking in bars. However one class of worker is still left with almost no protection: casino workers. Today, casino workers face high levels of secondhand smoke exposure yet receive the least protection by law. Many casino workers facing this injustice at tribal and non-tribal casinos alike are without health insurance and fear losing their job if they speak out. This session will examine the challenges facing public health advocates as we strive to make casinos smokefree. Real-life stories of casino workers will paint a vivid picture of their struggle for justice. Health impacts, air quality, sovereignty, legal strategies, organized labor, and political forces of both the gaming and tobacco industries will be discussed. This session will also examine the current status of smokefree casino legislation and the need for additional research to close the gaps.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Ethics, professional and legal requirements
Occupational health and safety
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Identify challenges facing casino workers in their fight for a safe workplace. Differentiate air quality measurements between casinos (where smoking is allowed)from other workplaces. Discuss potential legal and political options to acheive social justice for casino workers.

Keywords: Tobacco Policy, Health Advocacy

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Organization/institution whose products or services will be discussed: I would like to show a 7-minute DVD about a casino worker if audio-visual is available, but this is not essential to the presentation. Thank you.

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I work directly on smokefree policy campaigns and have experience working closely with casino workers and the smokefree casino social justice movement.
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.