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Call Your Senator - Like a Zombie, Smoking in Casinos Issue Coming Back To Life

Call Your Senator - Like a Zombie, Smoking in Casinos Issue Coming Back To Life

June 26, 2010

State House News Service is reporting that some in Senate leadership are looking to reverse the 24-15 vote yesterday to ban smoking in Massachusetts casinos.

The Senate paused their gambling debate for the day just before 5 pm Friday without taking a final vote. The Senate will be returning for a rare Saturday session to continue working on the bill.

For the Senate to cave to the tobacco lobby and permit smoking in casinos would be a major step backwards in our efforts to advance public health. We urge everyone to call their Senator and ask him or her to oppose allowing smoking in casinos.

Six years ago, Massachusetts led the nation in implementing a comprehensive workplace law to protect employees and the public from the impact of secondhand smoke. The same considerations should apply to employees and customers in casinos.

Since the workplace law in Massachusetts was passed in 2004, both the Surgeon General and the Institute of Medicine have issued comprehensive reports on the risks of secondhand smoke and the need to protect employees and the public. The Surgeon General has stated that there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke.

The Department of Public Health has demonstrated the impact of the Smoke-Free Workplace Law on a reduction in cardiovascular deaths and cost savings.

Casino workers and customers are at greater risk for lung and heart disease because of secondhand smoke exposure, even those in a "well-ventilated" casino. Studies have shown that these workers have cotinine (metabolized nicotine) levels 300-600% higher than in other workplaces.