CDC Report Finds Smoking Hits All-Time Low, Adding Another Reason for Legislators to Close Casino Smoking Loopholes

Casinos That Allow Smoking Are Turning Off an Overwhelming Majority of Potential Customers Who Don’t Want to Spend Time in the Smoke

Berkeley, CA– The Associated Press reported on a new study published this week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that found adult cigarette smoking rates in the U.S. dropped to an all-time low, with only 1 in 9 adults saying they were current smokers. 

Cynthia Hallett, president and CEO of Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights (ANR), released the following statement in light of the new report:

“This CDC report adds to the momentum in states like New Jersey and Rhode Island to finally close the casino smoking loophole. The gaming industry is catering to a shrinking population while forcing their workers to choose between their health and a paycheck. Times have changed and the status quo is neither acceptable nor a wise business decision. The majority of people prefer a smokefree environment and casinos that do not allow indoor smoking generate more revenue than their smoke-filled competitors. 

“That’s why we’re fighting alongside casino workers and public health advocates to end indoor smoking in casinos and protect the health of workers and nonsmoking guests. Lawmakers in states across the country have the opportunity to end indoor smoking and take a clear stance to protect the health and safety of workers. It's the right thing to do and should not be delayed any further.”

The CDC Office on Smoking and Health recently released a report on secondhand smoke, which examined air quality in Las Vegas casinos. The report, entitled “What Happens in Vegas, Stays in Your Lungs” evaluated particulate matter –  an indicator for secondhand smoke – in casinos that are smokefree indoors, and compared the results to casinos that allow smoking. They concluded that prohibiting smoking throughout the entirety of a casino is the only way to prevent the harms of secondhand smoke.

A report by Las Vegas-based C3 Gaming found that casinos without indoor smoking outperform their smoking counterparts. “Data from multiple jurisdictions clearly indicates that banning smoking no longer causes a dramatic drop in gaming revenue. In fact, non-smoking properties appear to be performing better than their counterparts that continue to allow smoking.”

More and more casinos nationwide are going smokefree, including Park MGM on the Las Vegas Strip. 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 more than 1,000 gaming properties do not permit smoking indoors.