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EDITORIAL: Tobacco ban in parks but not casinos?

Publication Date: 2014-07-16
  • Author:Dubuque Telegraph Herald editorial
  • Publication:Muscatine (IA) Journal

The Iowa city of Epworth just got tough on smoking. Even though state law already prohibits smoking in enclosed public spaces or public places where lots of people congregate, Epworth recently made it illegal to smoke inside the perimeter of the city's parks...

If state officials are concerned about secondhand smoke, they have bigger targets they could pursue.

Like casinos, for instance.

For six years, Iowa casinos have enjoyed a gaping loophole in the state's smoking ban. In 2008, when lawmakers prohibited smoking in public places, they cowed to the casino lobby and granted gambling establishments an exemption. So, despite a statewide ban by which all other businesses must abide, gamblers are allowed to smoke away in Iowa's casinos. Apparently, the state's concerns about secondhand smoke end at the casino door. Casino workers and non-smoking gamblers take a back seat to the gambling revenue flowing to state coffers. It just doesn't make sense.

Creating more smoke-free places is generally a positive thing. But if we really want to move the needle on public health as it pertains to cigarette smoke, the state should be looking at casinos, not parks...

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