New Study Finds Growing Support Among Nevadans For Smokefree Casinos Law

UNR Study: 60% of Washoe County residents—including smokers—support smokefree casinos

Casinos nationwide are adopting smokefree policies at an unprecedented pace

October 6, 2020

Berkeley, CA — Cynthia Hallett, President and CEO of Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights, released the following statement regarding a new University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) study showing increased, majority support for casinos in the Silver State going smokefree:

“Widespread and growing support for smokefree casinos among smokers and nonsmokers alike shows smokefree policies would be good for gaming companies’ bottom lines. Nevadans preferences are clear: they do not want to visit a casino with smoking indoors, and they will not stay as long in a smoke-filled environment. While going smokefree has always been the right thing to do to protect the health of gaming employees, now is the  time for casinos to catch up with consumer preferences and go smokefree because it’s good for business too.”

The UNR study, “Expanding smoke-free communities: attitudes and beliefs surrounding smoke-free casinos and bars in Washoe County, Nevada,” found the following:

  • 60 percent of Washoe County residents (and 74 percent of Washoe County non-smokers) would favor a law prohibiting smoking in all casinos in Washoe County.
  • Support has increased since voters approved the Nevada Clean Indoor Air Act in 2006, which prohibited smoking in public but carved out an exemption for casinos.
  • 77 percent of residents dislike smelling like smoke after visiting a casino or bar.
  • 65 percent agree that smoke bothers them in these establishments.
  • A majority of residents would both be more likely to visit a casino and bar and also find them more enjoyable if they were completely smoke free.
  • 79 percent of residents believe customers should be able to breathe smokefree air while only 21 percent believe businesses should be able to decide to allow smoking.

In releasing the results, the study’s author said, “This is a highly relevant issue for Washoe County because casinos and bars are important establishments in the community. However, tobacco use is still the leading preventable cause of death, but more importantly tobacco use in public places is a health equity and social justice issue as employees — such as table game dealers and bartenders — continue to be exposed to secondhand smoke.”

“This study was conducted before Covid-19 hit the U.S. so given increased health and safety concerns due to the pandemic this represents a golden opportunity and presents an additional incentive for bar and casino establishments to go smoke-free.” — Eric Crosbie, PhD, MA, University of Reno


For more information:

List of U.S. casinos and gaming venues reopening smokefree:

Secondhand smoke and risk of COVID-19: