Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Emerging Issue: Smoke-Free Casinos

This post is the first in a series of posts related to the emerging issue of smoke-free casinos and gaming venues. We will be featuring a guest blogger who is working on smoke-free casino efforts. We will also be featuring recent articles, reports, studies, and other relevant information. 

Earlier this year an important report was released that will ultimately open the door to smoke-free casinos. While it has been well documented that secondhand smoke (SHS) it is a health hazard; research and air quality monitoring specific to casinos had yet to be released. All that changed when the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Report was issued. 

This is what the study did:

  • talked to casino dealers about their symptoms resulting from exposure to SHS
  • collect urine samples to determine if SHS was absorbed into the bodies of dealers
  • conducted general health questionnaires
  • measured exposure to SHS with air quality and personal measures
What they found:

  • dealers reported having symptoms related to SHS
  • SHS was present in the air
  • found SHS components within urine*
*specifically they found NNAL, a known lung cancer causing agent

The conclusions of the report are to make casinos smoke-free, promote cessation, and ensure ventilation systems are working. We know ventilation is not enough. We also know quitting is not enough. The only way to ensure casino workers are receiving the same protections that many other workers are already enjoying is to make casinos smoke-free. 

What about Wisconsin?

  • Unfortunately, Wisconsin does not have smoke-free gaming
  • All of our casinos and gaming facilities are tribal operated
  • Given the sovereignty of tribal nations, it is up to the individual tribes to enact policy to ensure all workers are protected
What can I do? 

  • Join the movement for smoke-free gaming! 
  • Let the casinos and gaming establishments you frequent know- smoke-free is the way to be! 

The single best resource on smoke-free gaming- featuring people who have the facts about poker and smoke-free environments. There is also a great website on Smoke-free Gaming. If you are looking for what national leaders in the smoke-free movement (ANR) are talking about in terms of smoke-free gaming- we highly recommend visiting this site

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