TIPS FOR GOING SMOKEFREE
Smokefree Casinos Checklist
For casinos and hospitality sector businesses, now is the logical time to go smokefree indoors. Smokefree air helps casinos avoid mixed messages. Ensuring a safe and healthy environment for work and entertainment will be part of the “new normal.” Providing a smokefree environment sends a positive message that the casino cares about the health and wellbeing of guests and employees.
Current clientele will not have disposable income to come in right away to play. Providing a smokefree environment attracts a different type of nonsmoking clientele, one that could have more disposable income as they are not spending their money purchasing tobacco products.
According to the CDC, 90% of young adults are nonsmokers and 92% of older adults age 65+. Secondhand smoke is a top customer complaint and a barrier to recruiting and retaining a talented workforce.
With consultation of subject matter experts and learning from the nearly 800 smokefree casino and gaming venues nationwide, we recommend the follow steps to re-open as smokefree:
- Gather Stakeholders: Hold a virtual meeting or phone call with key managers and staff to discuss plans to implement a smokefree policy change. Providing a healthy, smokefree environment minimizes illnesses, doctor visits (health insurance costs) and absenteeism of staff (re-scheduling shifts). Explain how the change will impact the business routine and how staff and patrons can comply with the new policy. Share smoking cessation resources, like your state’s quitline, to help employees who may want to use this opportunity to cut back or quit smoking.
- Survey Patrons: Consider conducting a survey of player’s club members and customers to understand the perceptions of current players, as well the potential to bring in new gaming customers and growing non-gaming revenue streams. A sample of questions can be found by visiting: https://smokefreecasinos.org/sample-patron-survey/.
- Set the Policy: Only 100% smokefree indoor policies can truly protect the health and safety of employees and patrons. Determine where smoking will be allowed for staff or customers that choose to do so. Set a distance away from doors, windows, and air intake units where smoking will be allowed to ensure secondhand smoke doesn’t infiltrate back into the building. Cost savings can be realized by saving on air filtration systems as the frequency of changing the air filters on the HVAC systems is lessened.
Only 100% smokefree environments can guarantee protection to employees and patrons from the toxins in secondhand smoke. Just like coronavirus, secondhand smoke spreads throughout a building. Casino, bar, and hotel ventilation systems do not eliminate exposure to the gases, toxins, carcinogens, and particulate matter contained in secondhand smoke and e-cigarette aerosol.
- Thoughtful Approach to Design: Consider the best options for placement of outdoor smoking areas located off the gaming floors. People get up from table games and slots to do other things like to eat, go to the restrooms or visit other amenities. Select areas that allow customers to step outside to a smoke for a few minutes and return to play. Shifting smoking to outdoor smoking areas detached from casino building is not that expensive to implement, nor is it a major inconvenience to guests who wish to smoke to utilize it.
- Select a Date: Choose a date on the calendar that smoking and vaping will no longer be allowed indoors. Upon reopen a non-smoking environment offers something new and exciting to promote and announce.
- Communicate the Change: Announce to all employees and customers that you have now adopted a smokefree policy. Social media is a great way to reach your audience giving the policy widespread recognition and reach a broad customer base. Consider partnering with social influencers like BC slots to highlight the change in a fun and engaging way.
- Prepare the Space: Remove all ashtrays from the gaming floor and tables. Remove the residue left behind by thirdhand smoke – including from machines—which includes cleaning walls, ceilings and carpets and replacing HVAC filters. Providing a smokefree environment helps to maximize the investment made to deep clean, disinfect and sanitize as well as to preserve the sanitary environment of the business. Consider removing, swapping out or cleaning draperies and upholstery. It’s a perfect time to freshen your look!
- Prepare your Employees: To help ensure policy compliance, train staff on the new policy and the protocol for handling patrons who have questions or are not following the policy. Help them prepare what to say to patrons who are smoking. The good news is that smokefree air means more efficient staffing as not as many Environmental Services staff are needed for smoking related clean-up like servicing ashtrays, removing tar and nicotine residue and tending to cigarette burns in furnishings.
- Post signage: The vast majority of U.S. adults are nonsmokers which eases enforcement with the policy. Just like removing ashtrays, posting signs indicates that the establishment is smokefree and helps to let everyone know how to comply.
- Enjoy the benefits! Celebrate and encourage everyone to come enjoy the new, safer and healthier smokefree environment.
Contact us for one-on-one assistance on any of these steps noted above.