Council Votes to Put Pregnant Casino Workers in Harm’s Way, Give Greenlight to More Diagnoses of Cancer, Heart Disease, Asthma & More
May 23, 2023 | Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Following a vote by the Shreveport City Council to repeal critical workplace protections and bring smoking back into Shreveport casinos, Cynthia Hallett, president and CEO of Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights, issued the following statement:
“It is shameful that the Shreveport City Council has voted to repeal the smokefree workplace ordinance that was put in place to protect casino workers from having to breathe secondhand smoke on a daily basis. With this vote, the council has broken a promise to the hundreds of frontline workers who are the backbone of this industry. We stand with casino workers and our partners in Shreveport who fought against this ordinance and remain committed to reversing this ill-advised decision because no one should be forced to choose between their health and their paycheck. Councilors who voted for this ordinance today will be held accountable by the very casino workers whose lives they are putting in harm’s way.
Casino Employees Against Smoking Effects (CEASE), a multi-state coalition of frontline casino workers, sent a letter to the Shreveport City Council last week asking them to reject ordinance 46.
“By voting for this misguided and dangerous ordinance, you would be giving the greenlight to pregnant women working as table games dealers having to breathe secondhand smoke for eight hours a day,” wrote CEASE. “You would be saying it’s OK that workers like us are getting diagnoses of cancer, heart disease, COPD, asthma and other unacceptable conditions that our peers working other jobs don’t have to confront. You would be moving your city backwards when cities, states and Tribes across the country are going the other direction to protect workers’ health.”
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). “As a technical Society developing standards for indoor environmental quality, ASHRAE holds the position that the only means of avoiding health effects and eliminating indoor environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) exposure is to ban all smoking activity inside and near buildings,” they wrote in a letter to the council.
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, 20 states require commercial casinos to be smokefree indoors, and more than 1,000 gaming properties do not permit smoking indoors.
A new study published last month by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that found adult cigarette smoking rates in the U.S. dropped to an all-time low, with only 1 in 9 adults saying they were current smokers. Another report from the CDC Office on Smoking and Health examined air quality in Las Vegas casinos. The report, entitled “What Happens in Vegas, Stays in Your Lungs” evaluated particulate matter – an indicator for secondhand smoke – in casinos that are smokefree indoors, and compared the results to casinos that allow smoking. They affirmed that prohibiting smoking throughout the entirety of a casino is the only way to prevent the harms of secondhand smoke.
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.”
ABOUT AMERICANS FOR NONSMOKERS’ RIGHTS
ANR Foundation’s sister organization, Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights (ANR) is a member-supported, non-profit advocacy group that has been working for over 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://nonsmokersrights.org and https://smokefreecasinos.org.
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