Bally’s is Trying to Hide Behind Ventilation System to Defend the Indefensible – Knowingly Putting Their Employees in Harm’s Ways Repeats False Claim to Defend Indoor Smoking in TV Interview
Ventilation Experts: “[Ventilation Systems] Are Not Effective Against Secondhand Smoke”
May 19, 2023 | Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Providence, RI –As casino workers fight to close the casino smoking loophole in Rhode Island state law and to maintain smokefree air protections for Shreveport, Louisiana, casinos, a Bally’s lobbyist went on TV last night and repeated debunked claims about ventilation systems, saying they solve the problem for workers forced to breathe dangerous secondhand smoke.
In an interview with WPRI, the Providence CBS TV affiliate, Elizabeth Suever, vice president of government relations for Bally’s North America, said: “We have a state-of-the-art HVAC system that we’ve installed, so we think it will provide a really comfortable gaming environment for everyone, whether they’re a smoker or a non-smoker.”
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 Rhode Island lawmakers last month. “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.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also makes clear that “ventilation does not effectively protect people who don’t smoke from secondhand smoke.”
Cynthia Hallett, president and CEO of Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights, released the following statement:
“The ventilation experts could not be more clear: even the best ventilation systems do not protect workers and guests from breathing carcinogens from secondhand smoke. Casino executives think they can use the same talking points and myths to publicly defend the indefensible position of supporting indoor smoking that causes their employees to receive diagnoses of cancer, heart disease, asthma, emphysema, COPD and more. Have they no shame?
“It’s time to close the casino smoking loophole in Rhode Island and states across the country that still permit this outdated business practice. We’re frankly tired of hearing about how much casinos value their employees while forcing them to work in this dangerous environment. And then they wonder why they can’t fill open jobs? Casinos cannot be both a modern business and also allow indoor smoking. They must make a choice. If they don’t, the worker-led movement called CEASE will make sure legislators make that decision for them.”
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.”
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, 20 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 Nonsmokers’ Rights (ANR) is a member-supported, non-profit advocacy group that has been working for over 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://nonsmokersrights.org and https://smokefreecasinos.org.