Agua Caliente Casino in Palm Springs cancels clean air policy
Following the inexplicable cancellation of its popular clean air policy, the Agua Caliente Casino in Palm Springs exposes both its patrons and staff to secondhand smoke, prompting the following statement from the leaders of Casino Employees Against Smoking Effects (CEASE):
“We invite our colleagues at Agua Caliente Casino to join the thousands of casino workers across the country fighting to end smoking in our workplace. In fact, many of us joined precisely because our employers decided to bring back indoor smoking. As frontline workers, we know that smoke does not adhere to designated sections and that there is no ‘safe’ level of secondhand smoke. It is terrible that our fellow casino workers in Palm Springs will now have to endure breathing secondhand smoke every day at work and all of its terrible side effects. We no longer live in the 90’s and casinos should not be catering to the ever shrinking 10.9% of Californians who smoke at the expense of their employees and guests. We strongly urge the management at Agua Caliente to reconsider their decision so that their employees are not forced to choose between their health and their paycheck.”
Thousands of casino employees have joined the worker-led campaign to abolish the casino smoking loophole during the last three years. Five states—New Jersey, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Kansas, and Virginia—are home to CEASE. In their testimony before lawmakers, CEASE members have related horrific tales of pregnant workers compelled to labor among high roller cigar smokers and some who have contracted cancer after a lifetime of employment in casinos.
Park MGM on the Las Vegas Strip is one of the many casinos across the country that have eliminated smoking. During COVID-19, at least 160 sovereign tribal gaming establishments adopted smoke-free policies; 20 states mandate that commercial casinos be smoke-free inside; and over 1,000 gaming establishments forbid smoking indoors.
According to a recent research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only 1 in 9 persons in the country reported they were now smokers, marking a historic low in adult cigarette smoking rates. The CDC Office on Smoking and Health looked at the air quality at casinos in Las Vegas in another report. The study, "What Happens in Vegas, Stays in Your Lungs," assessed particulate matter, a sign of secondhand smoke, in indoor smoke-free casinos and contrasted the findings with those from casinos that permit smoking. They confirmed that the only method to stop the negative effects of secondhand smoke is to outlaw smoking in a casino's entire indoor area.
The engineers who design ventilation systems and who together make up the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) confirm that ventilation systems are not the solution. According to their findings, ventilation systems can reduce odor and discomfort, but cannot eliminate exposure and are not effective against secondhand smoke. Their report went on to say that there isn't a ventilation or air-cleaning system that can effectively control or significantly reduce the health risks of environmental tobacco smoke to an acceptable level that is currently available or reasonably anticipated.
According to a study by C3 Gaming of Las Vegas, casinos without indoor smoking perform better than those that still allow smoking. According to data from numerous sources, smoking bans no longer significantly reduce gaming income, according to C3 Gaming. As a matter of fact, properties that prohibit smoking appear to be doing better than those that do not.
“Casino workers group speaks out after Palm Springs casino again allows indoor smoking” , cdcgaming.com, October 18, 2023.