Pennsylvania Coalition Wants Legislative Changes Regarding Casinos and Smoking

The Clean Indoor Air Act of Pennsylvania is a law that focuses on smoking and the health of state residents. The act as it stands now has loopholes that allow casinos to choose their own smoking policies. The Breathe Free Pennsylvania Coalition wants to see the loopholes closed and are pushing for new legislation to move forward in an effort to protect people further from smoking habits.

House Bill 2298

House Bill 2298 was introduced by Representative Dan Frankel as legislation that would amend the Clean Indoor Air Act. The loopholes would be closed, and smoking would be banned permanently at casinos, bars and other facilities. Along with the House bill, there is reportedly a Senate version as well.

The coalition is behind this effort 100% and are calling on action to be made with the legislation. The coalition involves several health organizations including the American Cancer Association and the American Lung and Heart Association.

Anyone who has been to a casino knows that the facilities are usually filled with smoke. Players can smoke while they play, or dine, basically whenever. However, when the coronavirus pandemic hit and the casinos closed down, things would eventually change.

No Smoking for Now

Right now the Health Department of Pennsylvania allows casinos to remain open if those on the property do not vape or smoke cigarettes. This is due to the fact that that smoking cannot be done with a mask on. The act of smoking could lead to the spread of the coronavirus, which of course is a big no-no.

Employees are happy with the change, the fact that they do not have to worry about smoke being blown into their faces while working. Employees have spoken out about how they enjoy going to work now that the environment is smoke-free. They no longer have to worry about breathing in second-hand smoke, especially as a non-smoker.

Representative Frankel has pointed out that second hand smoke effects employees of casinos and other venues. Every year in the US, 41,000 non-smokers are killed due to secondhand smoke. Frankel said it made sense to roll back smoking polices before the pandemic and now that they are in place it seems inconceivable to change them back again.

It makes sense to keep the smoking policies in place, particularly since the employees feel better about their environment. Smokers are already having to do without and should be able to adapt in the months ahead to no smoking once Covid-19 restrictions are no longer in place.

Smoking and casino gaming go hand in hand and have done so for decades. Over the past few years, several states have tried to enact regulation to put a stop to the smoking habits. Some have been successful while others have not.

Rebecca Kont
Rebecca Kont

Rebecca lives in Las Vegas and after completing her degree at Reynolds Journalism school joined the USGS team to pursue her journalism dreams.