December 29, 2022
Detroit Casinos Should Stay Smokefree, Say Public Health Advocates
MGM Detroit, Greektown Making the Wrong Move By Bringing Back Indoor Smoking
Detroit, MI— Cynthia Hallett, president and CEO of Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights, which works with local and state public health organizations in Michigan, issued the following statement after two Detroit casinos announced they are bringing back indoor smoking:
“Detroit casino workers are receiving the equivalent of coal in their stockings this week. After more than two years of a safe workplace, these workers will now have to choose between their health and a paycheck. This is unacceptable. Efforts to try to separate smoking and non-smoking sections, such as adding doors, have repeatedly proven ineffective at protecting employees and guests from dangerous secondhand smoke.
“Even though only 12% of people in the United States smoke, some casinos continue to prioritize perceived profits from this dwindling group over the health of their workers. Times have changed. The majority of casino customers prefer a smokefree environment, and research shows that casinos without indoor smoking generate more revenue than their smoke-filled competitors. Casino companies with properties in Detroit also run smokefree casinos in cities across the country. Detroit workers deserve the same safe atmosphere as their counterparts elsewhere. We urge MGM Detroit and Greektown to reverse this decision and encourage MotorCity to maintain its smokefree indoor air policy.”
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/.