Advocates Applaud Opening of Another Smokefree Pennsylvania Casino
Shippensburg, PA— Cynthia Hallett, president and CEO of Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights (ANR), released the following statement ahead of the grand opening of a new smokefree casino, Parx Shippensburg:
“We applaud Greenwood Gaming & Entertainment for leading the way in providing a safe, smokefree environment for its employees and guests at Parx — and showing that business can not only keep pace but thrive. Now, they are doubling down on this success in Bensalem, where they compete with smoke-filled (for now) Atlantic City casinos, by opening its Shippensburg casino as a smokefree property. We are also encouraged that yet another smokefree casino is coming to the Keystone State when the Ira Lubert-Bally’s Corp. casino opens its doors. The trend is clearly moving towards smokefree indoor casinos because that’s what today’s customer expects.”
State Representative Dan Frankel has introduced legislation in PA to include all gaming facilities in the state’s clean indoor act. In his co-sponsorship memo, Rep. Frankel outlines the goals of the bill:
- Eliminate loopholes that leave workers exposed to cancerous secondhand smoke;
- Expand the definition of smoking to include e-cigarettes, to combat the increase in vaping-related illnesses; and
- Give all localities the ability to enact smoke-free ordinances that are more protective than state law.
A report by Las Vegas-based C3 Gaming found that casinos without indoor smoking outperform their smoking counterparts. “Data from multiple jurisdictions clearly indicates that banning smoking no longer causes a dramatic drop in gaming revenue. In fact, non-smoking properties appear to be performing better than their counterparts that continue to allow smoking.”
Ventilation systems are not the answer, according to the engineers who design such systems and collectively make up the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). “[Ventilation systems] are not effective against secondhand smoke” and “can reduce only odor and discomfort, but cannot eliminate exposure,” they wrote to casino executives. “There is no currently available or reasonably anticipated ventilation or air-cleaning system that can adequately control or significantly reduce the health risks of [environmental tobacco smoke] to an acceptable level.”
More and more casinos nationwide are going smokefree, including Park MGM on the Las Vegas Strip. At least 160 sovereign Tribal gaming venues have implemented 100% smokefree policies during COVID-19, 23 states require commercial casinos to be smokefree indoors, and more than 1,000 gaming properties do not permit smoking indoors.
ABOUT AMERICANS FOR NONSMOKERS’ RIGHTS
Americans for Nonsmoker’s Rights (ANR) is a member-supported, non-profit advocacy group that has been working for 45 years, since 1976, to protect everyone’s right to breathe nontoxic air in workplaces and public places, from offices and airplanes to restaurants, bars, and casinos. ANR has continuously shined a light on the tobacco industry’s interference with sound and life-saving public health measures and successfully protected 61% of the population with local or statewide smokefree workplace, restaurant, and bar laws. ANR aims to close gaps in smokefree protections for workers in all workplaces, including bars, music venues, casinos, and hotels. For more information, please visit https://no-smoke.org/ and https://smokefreecasinos.org/.