A Pennsylvania Lawmaker Introduces a New Bill Seeking to Ban Casino Smoking

Dan Frankel (D-Allegheny), a Pennsylvania Representative, is displeased by the state’s decision to exempt casinos and other ventures from indoor smoking. He hasn’t given up on turning the tables in the local gaming industry.

The lawmaker introduced another legislation seeking to prohibit smoking on casino floors. This is his second time drafting such a constitutional amendment, as he believes that Pennsylvania has smoking loopholes for certain businesses.

Local gaming properties allow players to smoke cigars and cigarettes on their premises. He believes that land-based gaming sites ought to abolish smoking.

The state passed the Clean Indoor Air Act in 2008. The legislation bans indoor smoking in workplaces and particular public spaces. Governor Ed Rendell (D) signed the law exempting bars, casinos, private clubs, and cigar lounges.

Frankel says that casino staff should not work in unsafe environments with secondhand smoke. The state limits gaming sites to indoor smoking on 50 percent of their gaming spaces. Medics state that secondhand smoke is harmful and it easily spreads to nonsmoking regions.

The Government’s Intervention

Pennsylvania has 18 successful land-based gaming venues. However, only a few of the are completely smoke-free, including Rivers Casino Philadelphia and Parx Casino in Bensalem. Other casinos have created smoking spaces on their floors.

Frankel believes that most gaming operators are determined to retain indoor smoking. He considers this to be unfair to clients and workers who don’t smoke. Also, he adds that Pennsylvanians ought not to be fixed in a dilemma to select between their health and jobs.

More evidence indicates that smoke-free casinos lure more players. Frankel stated in a recent newsletter that such establishments haven’t banned the practice.

The lawmaker introduced House Bill 1657 last week, intending to repeal some provisions in the Clean Indoor Air Act to let clubs and casinos to allow indoor smoking. He chairs the House Health Committee, which will review HB 1657. Reports indicate that it will convene on September 20 to discuss the smoking legislation.

This Is Great News for Casino Staff

Research shows that most casino workers desire to have clean air at their workplaces, and Frankel’s new bill excited them. The state’s Casino Employees Against Smoking Effects (CEASE) chapter states that the proposed legislation will save non-smoking players and casino workers’ lives.

Jen Rubolina, CEASE PA’s co-lead, and Rivers Casino’s table games dealer, thanked Frankel for his effort to ban indoor casino smoking. They added that most of the employees have developed health conditions like asthma, cardiovascular diseases, and cancer due to prolonged exposure to secondhand smoke. So, it is necessary to protect their well-being by sealing the gaming smoking loophole soon.

West Virginia and Atlantic City allow casino smoking. Yet, Delaware, New York, Maryland, and Ohio fully ban it. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Office on Smoking and Health discovered in its February 2023 research that smoke-free gaming venues have relatively high quantities of particulate matter.

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