Nevada Poll Suggests Majority Support for Smoke-Free Casinos

A recent poll conducted by the Nevada Tobacco Control and Smoke-free Coalition has revealed that nearly 60% of voters are in favor of banning smoking within casino premises. This substantial majority reflects a growing concern for the health implications associated with secondhand smoke and a collective desire for cleaner, smoke-free environments.

A sign directing casino goers at the Park MGM casino in Las Vegas that there's no smoking. (Source: MGM Resorts)

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Atlantic City, Kansas, Connecticut and other locations have been embroiled in debates over the topic of casino smoking. Late last year, The Venetian and the Palazzo brought the subject back to the surface in Las Vegas when they began to allow smoking at certain gaming tables.

The poll's findings come at a time when health consciousness is at an all-time high, and the dangers of secondhand smoke are widely recognized. Supporters of smoke-free environments argue that secondhand smoke contains hundreds of toxic chemicals known to cause cancer, heart disease, and respiratory illnesses. For the workers who spend hours in these environments, the health risks are not a mere inconvenience but a constant threat.

Moreover, the coalition's poll suggests that voters would view elected officials more favorably if they supported such a ban, indicating that the issue could influence future elections and policymaking. This sentiment is echoed by the United Auto Workers (UAW), which represents thousands of casino workers and is actively backing efforts to ensure smoke-free workplaces.

The poll indicates that the public's stance is changing, and there is a strong support for legislative action to amend this discrepancy. The potential law to make all workplaces in Nevada, including casinos, completely smoke-free indoors is gaining traction. Notably, the support transcends demographic, geographic and partisan lines, suggesting a widespread acknowledgment of the importance of smoke-free environments.

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Clearing the Air

The push for smoke-free casinos is not just a health issue; it's also a matter of workplace safety and equality. The Nevada Clean Indoor Air Act, which took effect in December 2006, excluded casinos from its protections, leaving casino workers vulnerable to the harmful effects of tobacco smoke. This exclusion has been a point of contention, as it suggests a disparity in the consideration for the health of casino workers compared to other professionals in the state.

The implementation of smoking bans in casinos has been a topic of significant debate, with various stakeholders considering the financial and health implications. Recent reports indicate that casinos that have implemented smoking bans have not witnessed any measurable decrease in revenue, nor did they lose any notable market share to alternative casinos that continued to allow smoking.

This suggests that concerns about smoking bans negatively affecting casino profits may be unfounded. Additionally, the push for smoke-free environments is gaining momentum, with shareholders being enlisted to advocate for non-smoking policies, reflecting a growing awareness of the health risks associated with secondhand smoke exposure.


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