American Lung Association Applauds Multiple Local Casinos for Going Commercial Tobacco Free, Protecting Health of Workers

Statement from Charlie Gagen, Advocacy Director of the American Lung Association in Oklahoma

“We applaud the decision of Kiowa, Apache and Choctaw Nation Casinos for adopting a smokefree workplace policy eliminating the smoking and vaping of commercial tobacco products indoors 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 from commercial tobacco products.
“In Oklahoma, about one in five adults currently smoke cigarettes, and the state has the 12th highest smoking prevalence in the nation. With the absence of a comprehensive smokefree law, Oklahomans continue to live and work in areas 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 in Oklahoma to adopt a similar smokefree policy and follow their lead.”

For more information, contact:

James A. Martinez
(312) 445-2501
[email protected]

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