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Don’t wager on smoke-free gambling

Publication Date: 2007-02-05
  • Author:Scott Mayerowitz
  • Publication:Providence (RI) Journal-Bulletin

Gamblers heading to the nonsmoking sections of Lincoln Park and Newport Grand might not be escaping the smoke after all.

A study commissioned by a New Jersey antismoking group shows significant levels of pollutants in the nonsmoking sections of the two gambling halls.

At Lincoln Park, the nonsmoking area was found to be 39 percent as polluted as the track’s smoking section. At Newport Grand, the pollutant levels were 17 to 37 percent of the levels in the smoking section.

The New Jersey Group Against Smoking Pollution (GASP) has been pushing to get Atlantic City to ban smoking in its 12 casinos. The City Council there had initially contemplated an absolute ban but recently moved to a plan where smoking would be prohibited in 75 percent of the gambling space.

The antismoking group conducted testing in Rhode Island as part of an effort to build their case that nonsmoking sections do not protect nonsmokers. They also found that the smoking sections of Rhode Island’s two gambling halls had heavy concentrations of smoke.

“How dismal that the separately walled and ventilated nonsmoking sections are still one-third as polluted as the extra-polluted smoking sections,” Regina Carlson, executive director of GASP said in a statement. “Clearly, at least in Rhode Island casinos, this so-called solution doesn’t work.”