Pennsylvania’s casino-goers might soon enjoy a cleaner atmosphere. This week, Representative Dan Frankel introduced HB 1657 to the Pennsylvania Assembly, aiming to prohibit smoking within the state’s 18 traditional casinos. This move addresses a gap in the Pennsylvania Clean Indoor Air Act of 2008.
The bill is currently awaiting a vote, having been presented to the House Health Committee earlier this month.
Support for a Cleaner Casino Environment
The push for smoke-free casinos in Pennsylvania has garnered significant support. The Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights (ANR), a prominent nonprofit, has expressed its backing for HB 1657. According to ANR, casinos that enforce indoor smoking bans not only safeguard public health but also attract more patrons who favor smoke-free surroundings.
The Health Risks of Casino Smoke
While not all casino visitors smoke, the American Cancer Society (ACS) highlights that everyone is at risk in a smoking-permitted environment. The ACS emphasizes the elevated nicotine levels in such casinos compared to other indoor spaces and the increased presence of carcinogens in the lungs of patrons after spending time in these establishments. Furthermore, the ANR has indicated that even designated non-smoking zones in smoking-allowed casinos have significantly higher secondhand smoke levels.
A recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Las Vegas casinos strongly recommended indoor smoking bans, emphasizing the health risks posed by secondhand smoke.
A Growing Preference for Smoke-Free Spaces
Frankel’s initiative aligns with a broader trend. The ACS points out that a significant majority of Americans, including gamblers across various states, prefer public spaces without smoking. In fact, in California, 85% of casino visitors favor smoke-free establishments. Moreover, current smoking rates in the U.S. are at a historic low, as reported by the CDC.
Commenting on his bill, Frankel stated, “I aim to eliminate the remaining gaps in the Clean Indoor Air Act, ensuring a smoke-free environment in all workplaces. No one should have to compromise their health for their livelihood.”