A new piece of legislation in Pennsylvania will close “loopholes” in the law that allow for casinos in the state to have indoor smoking.
The proposal was announced Tuesday by state Reps Dan Frankel and Jay Costa.
“This General Assembly banned smoking in most workplaces in 2008, when nearly 21 percent of adults in America smoked,” Frankel said in a memo announcing the bill. “But while the number of smokers has sunk to 14 percent, we’ve also concentrated the health risks of second-hand smoke to a few remaining, unprotected workplaces.”
Casinos still expose staff to second-hand smoke “by taking advantage of loopholes” in the Clean Indoor Act, according to Frankel.
“Pennsylvanians should not have to choose between their jobs and their health. That’s why I’ll soon be reintroducing my legislation to close the loopholes that that threaten the health of Pennsylvania workers.”
Frankel cited “a growing body of evidence” that smoke-free businesses attract more customers. A recent study on a smoking ban for Atlantic City casinos found that gaming revenue could decline.
Frankel cited the casinos’ performances under COVID-19 restrictions as evidence to the contrary.
“Pennsylvania’s casinos were forced to close their doors for a significant part of 2020,” Frankel continued. “The ability to reopen came with a host of new challenges, including universal mask use and no smoking. They also had limited alcohol, no buffet, no entertainment, capacity limits and a near elimination of tour buses, and corporate events. And yet, on the days that they were open, revenues went up.”
Frankel and Costa’s bill would also expand the definition of smoking to include e-cigarettes and give all Pennsylvania localities “the ability to enact smoke-free ordinances that are more protective than state law.”
Rep Frankel & Jay Costa introducing bill that would prohibit smoking in casinos here in PA. @WPXI
County Exec is here in support, as well as a former Rivers Casino employee & representsivr from American Lung Association pic.twitter.com/FFkLN3VDhX
— Gabriella DeLuca (@GabriellaDeLuca) March 16, 2022