No Mask Exceptions for Smoking Indoors at Nevada Casinos, Says Smokefree Casino Advocates
Governor Sisolak Urged to Listen to Nevada Health Experts By Prohibiting Indoor Smoking at Casinos
The CDC Has Called Smokefree Casino Policies a “Silver Lining” of the Pandemic
July 27, 2021
Berkeley, CA — After the CDC issued new mask guidance that triggered an emergency order from Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak mandating the wearing of masks indoors in most Nevada counties, Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights President and CEO Cynthia Hallett issues the following statement:
“It’s contrary to the well-being of all Nevadans that casinos in the state currently permit guests to smoke indoors. It makes no sense to allow casino guests to remove their mask and blow secondhand smoke—along with droplets carrying a potentially life-threatening disease—into shared indoor air. This jeopardizes the health of gaming employees and guests alike, and no credible public health official would approve of such an activity. In fact, health departments across Nevada have encouraged the State to require a smokefree indoor policy at casinos.
“We urge Governor Sisolak to follow the guidance of public health officials and require casinos to prohibit indoor smoking–just like governors in other states have done–to protect the health of gaming workers, guests and all Nevadans. It’s a commonsense step that will only help us to finally put COVID behind us.”
In a joint statement last summer year, the Southern Nevada Health District, Washoe County Health District, and Carson City Health and Human Services expressed concerns with smoking in casinos. “Businesses cannot adequately reinforce the proven risk reduction strategy of wearing face coverings while also allowing smoking…The primary mode of transmission of the virus is through person-to-person spread of respiratory droplets. As people remove face coverings to smoke or vape, they are exhaling respiratory droplets over a longer distance. The act itself requires individuals to more frequently touch their face and mouths – another direct contradiction to recommended COVID-19 prevention strategies.”
ANR sent a letter to Governor Sisolak in November 2020 calling for him to require Nevada casinos to go smokefree in light of rising COVID case numbers.
The CDC has called smokefree casino policies a “silver lining” of the pandemic.
ABOUT AMERICANS FOR NONSMOKERS’ RIGHTS
Americans for Nonsmokers’ 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/.