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Lawmakers Push for Casino Exemption to Smoking Ban smoke before laying down their money

Publication Date: 5/25/2007
  • Author:Blackwell Thomas
  • Publication:The Southern Illinoisan

While a statewide smoking ban awaits approval from Gov. Rod Blagojevich some lawmakers are working to ensure that casino patrons across the state can still light up a smoke before laying down their money.

Shortly after the state Senate approved the ban last month, lawmakers began drafting plans to exempt the four Illinois riverboat casinos that sit next to the state border.

The hope was to prevent smokers from leaving Illinois riverboats for smoker-friendly casinos sitting just minutes away across state lines. On Thursday, a plan emerged to allow smoking at all nine of the Illinois casinos...

But business should not trump health interests, argued American Lung Association spokesman Mike Grady.

"We reject the economic argument. There is no evidence that casinos will lose business," Grady said. "And from a public health perspective everybody deserves the same rights to protection."