Jan 22, 2009
Hoosier study reveals high levels of deadly seccondhand smoke in casinos
The Indiana Campaign for Smokefree Air and the Indiana Academy of Family Physicians recently released a Purdue University study revealing the state's casino workers and customers are breathing air containing 14 times more secondhand smoke than normal.
The study assessed indoor air quality in 11 casinos in Indiana during unannounced and clandestine visits in April and May of 2008. This inaugural in-depth study of air quality in Indiana casinos reveled levels of find particle indoor air pollution that were significantly higher than the maximum recommended by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Seven of the 11 casinos had nonsmoking areas, but these have little impact on reducing smoke exposure, said Neil Zimmerman, the Purdue professor who led the study.
"It's the same as trying to enforce a non-peeing area in a baby pool," Zimmerman said.
Indian, bordered by states to the west and east by states with a workplace smoking ban, is in the same situation as Michigan. The Indian legislature is reconsidering a smoke-free workplace law after a similar bill did not make it to the floor last year. Michigan got a ban approved by both the House and Senate last year, but the two bodies could not agree on where to have exceptions or not, and the bill died last month. Casinos were at the forefront of that disagreement.
The release of the report comes just after the National Council of Legislators from Gaming States (NCLGS), an organization comprised of state legislators from states with casinos or gaming venues, formally adopted a resolution encouraging and calling for state legislative action to make gaming venues smokefree.
"Without Smokfree laws, Indians' employees are forced to risk their health in order to receive a paycheck. Michigan is no different," said Judy Stewart, campaign manager for the Campaign for Smokefree Air (CSA). "We applaud the efforts of the NCLGS and encourage Michigan lawmakers to follow their lead and make passing smoke free legislation in Michigan a priority."
The Campaign for Smokefree Air is a grassroots coalition with more than 260 members, including leadership from the American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, American Lung Association of Michigan, Michigan Health & Hospital Association, and Michigan State Medical Society, as well as other statewide groups that support making workplaces, including restaurants and bars, smokefree. For more information about the Campaign for Smokefree Air,