Smokefree Casino Advocates Mark 15th Anniversary of Smokefree Hotels, Urge Gaming Companies to “Catch Up with Other Modern Businesses”

Smokefree Policies are Good for Health and Good for Business

January 15, 2021


Berkeley, CA – Fifteen years ago this year, Westin Hotels and Resorts and Marriott International implemented the first nationwide 100% smokefree hotel policy in the U.S and created a domino effect in which actors across the industry soon thereafter also adopted such a policy. Cynthia Hallett, MPH, president and CEO of Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights (ANR), released the following statement marking the occasion and calling on casinos to take similar action:

“From airplanes to restaurant to hotels, we’ve seen the transition to smokefree policies that protect workers and customers by clearing the air. Now, it’s time for casinos to join their peers in the travel and hospitality industries, especially as a respiratory-centered pandemic only worsens.

“In addition to the health benefits, there are economic benefits associated with smokefree policies, such as reduced cleaning time and costs, simplifying room inventory management, eliminating a top customer complaint, attracting meetings and customers, improving worker health, and supporting a consistent wellness brand experience.

“Further, a 100% smokefree indoor air policy aligns casinos with their claims of valuing their workers and tells investors that they pay more than lip service to environmental, social and governing (ESG) policies that have become front-and-center. Smokefree indoor air policies are an important ESG policy metric to consider for hospitality sector businesses such as hotels, casinos, restaurants, and cruise ships.

“We know the majority of adults prefer smokefree policies and will patronize smokefree businesses. It’s time for casinos to catch up with public preferences and every other modern business and adopt smokefree indoor policies.”

For more about how the hotel industry went largely smokefree, read this new ANR Foundation blog post.

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 more than 1,000 gaming properties do not permit smoking indoors.

In a joint statement in July, the Southern Nevada Health District, Washoe County Health District, and Carson City Health and Human Services expressed concerns with smoking in casinos. “Businesses cannot adequately reinforce the proven risk reduction strategy of wearing face coverings while also allowing smoking…The primary mode of transmission of the virus is through person-to-person spread of respiratory droplets. As people remove face coverings to smoke or vape, they are exhaling respiratory droplets over a longer distance. The act itself requires individuals to more frequently touch their face and mouths – another direct contradiction to recommended COVID-19 prevention strategies.”

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 and