Have you heard talk of ‘green’ building construction and sustainable living? What does it mean for smokefree air?

The bottom line is that people shouldn’t have to get sick breathing secondhand smoke in a ‘green’ sustainable building.

ASHRAE Standard 62.2 affirms that mechanical solutions like ventilation cannot control for the health hazards of secondhand smoke.

The United States Green Building Council (USGBC) has its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System™, a rating system popular with developers and often tied to tax credits incentivizing sustainable development.

LEED standards are supposedly smokefree, but USGBC has been willing to bend the rules of certification especially for casinos – often simply certifying around the smoking areas. The problem of course is that secondhand smoke doesn’t know to stay in one area. Smoke diffuses throughout a building. Casinos then use their LEED certified status to falsely imply that the health hazards of secondhand smoke have been addressed. Additionally, they then use their LEED certified status to imply that they are socially responsible while ignoring the health impact of secondhand smoke to workers and the public.

For people working inside a casino complex, it’s shared air and everyone has to breathe. Smoking in one area of the building means everyone else is exposed, even if they are in a LEED certified area still connected to indoor smoking sections. There is no safe level of exposure. Gimmicks like casino HVAC systems, smoking sections, or smoking lounges do not address the health hazards and do not stop the smoke from spreading.

Learn more about ventilation issues on the American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation site.