On 6th Anniversary, Advocates Highlight Success of New Orleans Smokefree Ordinance That Includes Gaming Venues
Caesars Continues to Re-Invest in New Orleans Through $325M Casino Expansion, $200M Naming Rights Deal for Saints Stadium
Predictions of Doom & Gloom Have Failed to Materialize
April 21, 2021
Berkeley, CA -- Ahead of tomorrow's anniversary, Cynthia Hallett, president and CEO of Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights, released the following statement marking six years of smokefree indoor air at Harrah's New Orleans, which took effect on April 22, 2015:
"We congratulate the City of New Orleans, Caesars Entertainment and Churchill Downs for six years of providing smokefree air for gaming employees and guests alike. The City's action has served as a catalyst across the state, as 30 local communities in Louisiana have since gone smokefree, with the City of Shreveport set to become the latest when its ordinance takes effect in August.
"Not only have countless lives been saved because of the New Orleans ordinance, but Caesars, in particular, has continued to invest in New Orleans, including a proposed new hotel tower and buying the naming rights for the Superdome. This shows that predictions of doom and gloom have not materialized -- and we should bear this in mind in gaming markets across the country when we hear similar claims from the industry pushing back against going smokefree.
"Now, as we begin to emerge from this pandemic, Americans are more cognizant than ever of the air they breathe. This will be a lasting impact that affects where customers choose to spend their time -- and public opinion research routinely shows they prefer smokefree casinos. We urge casinos in states like New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Michigan, all of which are temporarily smokefree, to permanently adopt a smokefree indoor policy that keeps employees and guests safe from the dangerous consequences of secondhand smoke."
In December, despite the economic challenges wrought by the pandemic, Caesars announced a $325 million upgrade to add a new hotel tower and other amenities, which comes on the heels of the company adding a music venue in 2019. Further, Caesars recently landed the naming rights to the New Orleans Saints stadium, for which is will pay $200 million.
Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States. It causes cancer, heart disease, stroke, lung diseases, and diabetes. More than 20 million people in the United States have died from smoking-related diseases since 1964, including 2.5 million nonsmokers as a result of exposure to secondhand smoke. Louisiana spends more than $1 billion in smoking-related health care expenses each year.
More and more casinos nationwide are going smokefree. At least 160 sovereign Tribal gaming venues have implemented 100% smokefree policies during COVID-19, 23 states require commercial casinos to be smokefree indoors, and nearly 1,100 gaming properties do not permit smoking indoors. Opinion research routinely, and increasingly, shows the vast majority of guests prefer smokefree indoor casinos. That’s not surprising considering that among young adults, 90 percent are nonsmokers.
Last month, the CDC singled out smokefree indoor casino policies as a “public health win,” the impact of which is “immeasurable in terms of not only protecting the public who attend these venues, but also workers who are working eight hours or more per day in these environments.”
ABOUT AMERICANS FOR NONSMOKERS' RIGHTS
Americans for Nonsmoker’s Rights (ANR) is a member-supported, non-profit advocacy group that has been working for 45 years, since 1976, to protect everyone’s right to breathe nontoxic air in workplaces and public places, from offices and airplanes to restaurants, bars, and casinos. ANR has continuously shined a light on the tobacco industry’s interference with sound and life-saving public health measures and successfully protected 61% of the population with local or statewide smokefree workplace, restaurant, and bar law. ANR aims to close gaps in smokefree protections for workers in all workplaces, including bars, music venues, casinos, and hotels. For more information, please visit https://no-smoke.org/ and https://smokefreecasinos.org/.