smoke-free-casinosCasino Employees Support Smokefree Casinos and Smokefree Gaming

September 16, 2011

Teresa Price, Former Caesars Palace Dealer

“Now where you work, if you let everybody start smoking like the old days they would go nuts. They would say this isn’t right. But for some reason, the service workers are still subjected to it. And not only that, if they say anything, something happens to them. They get written up. They could lose their job. Everything that I’ve said all along is happening. People are sick from secondhand smoke. They’re outlawing it because they know everywhere you work it’s bad. But here in the casinos, nothing is being done. The service workers are being completely ignored, as if we don’t have the same lungs as everyone else.”

Quoted In:

Smith, J.L., “Casinos need to clear air on secondhand smoke dangers,” Las Vegas Review-Journal, January 9, 2011.

Kanie Kastroll, Dealer Wynn Las Vegas

On filing a lawsuit re: secondhand smoke exposure: “I have everything to lose by doing this, but I’m the kind of person who will speak up if something is wrong. Why is secondhand smoke in a casino restaurant, theater or shop viewed as toxic, but in a gaming area it is acceptable ­ even encouraged?”

Quoted In:

Benston, L., “Despite health risks, casino dealers still exposed to cigarette smoke,” Las Vegas Sun, February 14, 2010.

Anonymous Dealer, Atlantic City, NJ

“Amazing that they (casino owners) said that the reason they needed to keep our health in danger was because smoking drove their business. Well what the h*ll is their excuse now.”

Quoted In:

Gardner, A., “Smoking is back but gambling is not for Atlantic City casinos,” Casino Gambling Web, February 11, 2009.

Tom McEvoy, Career poker player and member of Gamblers Against Secondhand Smoke

“I love Las Vegas. I love gaming. I’m not anti-casino. I’m anti-smoking in the casino. This is actually going to help the industry in the long run. … Casinos are afraid to offend the minority. That’s being shortsighted. They’re on the wrong side of this issue and they know it.”

Quoted In:

Benston, L., “Gaming: poker pro urges casino smoking ban,” Las Vegas Sun, October 21, 2008.

Kim Hesse, Dealer, Caesars

“As soon as you walk into the casinos, [the smoke] would hit you like a wall. You feel like a human filter – that the casinos have no other filtration except us.”

Quoted In:

Parmley, S., “Casino workers pleased by full-smoking ban,” Philadelphia Inquirer, April 24, 2008.

Liz String, Casino Dealer

“Now they have everybody smoking in one quarter of the casino, which is the table-games [area]. So I’ve got at least four times as much smoke in my face. You can’t get away. You’re confined on a table, and you can’t get away from that table. You’re stuck.”

Quoted In:

Parmley, S., “Casino workers pleased by full-smoking ban,” Philadelphia Inquirer, April 24, 2008.

“You get problems with your sinuses, problems with your lungs,” said Nate Chait, a veteran Atlantic City table games supervisor who claims he and many co-workers have been sickened by second-hand smoke. “Your eyes burn. You get sore throats. You get more colds.”

Quoted In:

Parry, W., “Casinos scramble to comply with ban,” NorthJersey.com, April 3, 2007.

Las Vegas, NV

“I am a dealer in Las Vegas. I am a non-smoker who is exposed to secondhand smoke on a daily basis. Smoke is everywhere in a casino… There is no refuge from the smoke, even in the back of the house, when on a break, or while eating in the cafeteria… My future plans involve removing myself from this unhealthy atmosphere as soon as possible. Many individuals have accepted dealing as a career and will spend countless years in this volatile environment doing irreparable damage to lung tissue while at work. I feel my asthma is aggravated by the secondhand smoke and the lack of legislation against this form of torture placed upon the nonsmoking innocent employee is criminal,” wrote Phil Trenchak, a card dealer at an unnamed Las Vegas casino.

Quoted In:

Trenchak, P., “Smoke is everywhere,” International Union of Gaming Employees, November 7, 2000. Downloaded at http://www.iuge.net/expres/mail_2000/letter_40.htm

Reno, NV

“It has been an ongoing battle to attempt to explain to my superiors that smoke constitutes a special hazard to my health. I have a deleterious reaction to tobacco smoke. I have had [too] much difficulty communicating my medical profile to my superiors and in spite of the fact that I have provided them with written requests from M.D.’s. I did request that I be relieved from manning the ticket sales counter — which duty gives me inordinately high exposure to cigarette and cigar smoke… I am at an impasse. I cannot safeguard my health and go on working for Hilton. I cherish my health, so I must go,” wrote Angella Bogard, a former ticket-sales worker, in her resignation letter to the Reno Hilton.

Quoted In:

Bogard, A., “[Letter of resignation to Reno Hilton],” [n.s.], September 1, 2004.

Montreal, CA

“The question of second-hand smoke is a very big problem. From day one, when I started working, it is like a kind of war between me (and my companions) and the casino; for our comfort and especially our health,” wrote Martin Gagnon, a card dealer at Montreal Casino.

Quoted In:

Gagnon, M., “Smoke-Free Casino. Fiction or reality,” International Union of Gaming Employees, September 13, 2001. Downloaded at http://www.iuge.net/express/mail_2001/letter_80.htm

“When I went to school to be a casino dealer, I didn’t know it would damage my health. No one said I’d have to put up with people blowing smoke in my face. That wasn’t part of the job description at all,” said Joan Zarych, a casino worker in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Quoted In:

[n.a.], “Efforts Stall to Cut Smoke Risk for Casino Workers,” www.joingtogether.org, October 18, 2004. Downloaded at http://www.jointogether.org/y/0,2521,574927,00.html

“You can’t walk away. You’re tied to the table for an hour and it doesn’t matter whether they light up five cigars or six cigarettes. You have to stand there and breathe it. The casino operators say ‘Hey, you don’t like it, find another job,'” Joseph Yaniak said, an overseer of craps and blackjack tables. Yaniak suffers from asthma and emphysema and uses a steroid inhaler when he works.

Quoted In:

Curran, J., “For casino workers, smoke study underscores hazard,” Newsday/AP, October 17, 2004.

“We wish to have casinos join the ranks of other businesses and public entities that are completely smoke-free environments. Every individual in our society should have the right to breathe safe, sweet air. That should be our creed,” wrote Jack Lipsman, director of the National Federation of Casino Employees and a casino industry retiree, to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Quoted In:

Lipsman, J., “Gimme some air,” Las Vegas Review-Journal, September 3, 2000.

“Employers like pub and club owners have a legal duty to provide safe workplaces for their staff. Those who choose not to will find no hiding place when they damage the health of their staff because of their failure to act,” said Graham Hassell, the GMB union’s casino organizer in London, when defending a former croupier who now suffers from asthma due to secondhand smoke exposure at gambling tables.

Quoted In:

[n.a.], “Damages claim over passive smoking,” BBC News Online, December 29, 1999.

“I know a dealer who actually fainted at a table because of the [secondhand tobacco] smoke… When is the message going to get across… our health is being seriously jeopardized here, this is why we believe something needs to be done,” said Steve Farrell, a casino croupier.

Quoted In:

[n.a.], “Report highlights passive smoking problems,” AAP, December 1, 1999.

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