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News Summary

Exemptions water down smoking ban

Publication Date: 2007-09-26
  • Author:Editorial
  • Publication:The Batavia Sun

The Illinois gambling lobby is planning to start pushing the Senate for an exemption to the state's smoking ban, arguing it will cost casinos 20 percent of their annual take. Tom Swoik, executive director of the Illinois Casino Gaming Association, said he would also settle for a repeal of the smoking ban for five years for casinos or until gaming facilities in border states also snuff out smoking...

An exception for casinos, which could be rolled into gaming-expansion legislation, would open the door to other industries requesting exemptions. The result would be a watered-down ban that does not protect the public health as intended...

Illinois should stand its ground and set an example for other states. If the ban is first and foremost about saving lives, rather than protecting business interests, then casinos should not be exempt. Aurora and other casino towns might lose tax revenue, but the trade-off is well worth the cost.