Gambling Legislation

Pennsylvania legislation would ban smoking in casinos

Pennsylvania legislation would ban smoking in casinos

The controversial topic of indoor smoking in casinos is making an appearance in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Representative Dan Frankel opposes smoking exemptions for specific businesses, such as casinos. Therefore, the Allegheny County Democrat has introduced legislation in Harrisburg for the second straight year that seeks to close loopholes in smoking laws for casinos and other businesses exempt from indoor smoking bans.

Frankel filed House Bill 1657 last week, which seeks to amend the Clean Indoor Air Act and repeal specific provisions that allow casinos and other businesses to allow smoking indoors. HB 1657 has been directed to the House Health Committee, which Frankel chairs. They will meet on September 20 to begin discussions on the smoking bill.

The Pennsylvania Clean Indoor Air Act of 2008 prohibits smoking inside most public spaces and workplaces. It provides certain exceptions for casinos, private clubs, cigar lounges and bars, where the majority of the businesses’ income is generated from alcohol sales.

While smoking in Pennsylvania casinos is currently limited to only half of their casino floors, health experts say that secondhand smoke can drift into nonsmoking areas. Frankel believes casino workers should not be required to work in a toxic environment with secondhand smoke.

Pennsylvania has 18 retail casinos, with only two that are entirely smoke-free. The remaining have designated smoking sections on the casino floor. “Pennsylvanians should not have to choose between their jobs and their health. Despite a growing body of evidence suggesting that smoke-free environments attract more customers — not fewer — these businesses have not banned smoking on their own,” said Frankel in his newsletter.

Atlantic City and West Virginia also allow smoking in casinos, while casinos in the bordering states of New York, Delaware, Ohio and Maryland are 100% smoke-free.

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