American Lung Association Applauds Four Iowa Casinos for Reopening Smokefree, Protecting Health of Workers

Statement from Kristina Hamilton, advocacy director of the American Lung Association

The American Lung Association is pleased to see four casinos in Iowa reopening smokefree during a time when lung health has never been more important and urges the casinos to remain smokefree permanently. Blackbird Bend Casino, WinnaVegas Casino, Meskwaki Bingo Casino and Prairie Flower Casino adopted a smokefree workplace policy recently when they re-opened.

Below is a statement from Kristina Hamilton, advocacy director for the American Lung Association, regarding the news.

“We applaud the decision of the owners of these four casinos for adopting a smokefree workplace policy as they re-open after COVID-19 forced businesses to shut their doors. This policy will protect the health of workers and customers from dangerous secondhand smoke and e-cigarette emissions, and we call for the permanent adoption of this policy.

“Over a decade ago, the U.S. Surgeon General found that there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke and that eliminating smoking in indoor spaces is the only way to fully protect people from exposure.

“Separating smokers from nonsmokers, cleaning the air, and ventilating buildings cannot eliminate this exposure. In addition, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers, an expert organization that sets standards on ventilation in buildings, has had a standard in place on exposure to secondhand smoke for a number of years. One of the main conclusions of this standard is that the only way to completely eliminate the health risks from secondhand tobacco smoke in indoor environments is to prohibit smoking activity.

“Secondhand smoke causes lung cancer and heart disease and worsens existing health conditions including asthma and COPD. Everyone deserves the chance to lead a healthy life, and that means having a safe work environment free from the health harms associated with secondhand smoke.

“In Iowa, the Smokefree Air Act, passed in 2008, protects 3.1 million Iowans. Unfortunately, the 19 commercial casinos in Iowa are exempt from the law so their workers and customers are without protection from dangerous secondhand smoke. 

“The American Lung Association will continue to advocate for strong smokefree laws and policies. We strongly urge other casinos to adopt a similar smokefree policy and follow the lead of Blackbird Bend, WinnaVegas, Meskwaki Bingo and Prairie Flower Casinos.”

For more information, contact:

Jill Dale
[email protected]

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