Today, the American Lung Association issued a statement regarding two Indiana casinos’ decision to open smokefree.
“We applaud the decision of Cook Group, owners of French Lick Casino, and Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians, owners of Four Winds Casino, for adopting a smokefree workplace policy as they re-open after closures due to COVID-19. 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.
“Indiana’s weak smokefree air law leaves bar and casino workers at risk of secondhand smoke exposure. In Illinois and Ohio, casino workers are protected from secondhand smoke by law. Michigan has also taken strong steps to reopen all casinos smokefree as part of COVID-19 precautions. Indiana should strive for the same workplace protections as our neighboring states.
The American Lung Association will continue to advocate for strong smokefree laws and policies. We strongly urge other casinos in Indiana to adopt a similar smokefree policy and follow the lead of French Lick and Four Winds.”
Note that tobacco, as referenced above, refers specifically to the use of manufactured, commercial tobacco products and not to the sacred, medicinal and traditional use of tobacco by American Indians and other groups. As sovereign nations, tribes have jurisdiction over their tribal lands.
About the American Lung Association
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease through education, advocacy and research. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to champion clean air for all; to improve the quality of life for those with lung disease and their families; and to create a tobacco-free future. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the coveted 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Gold-Level GuideStar Member, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org.