WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — A group called Casino Employees Against Smoking Effects (CEASE) says Kansas casino workers are fighting to end smoking inside casinos.
CEASE says the Kansas employees are worried about their health. So they will work to close the loophole in Kansas laws that allows smoking in casinos.
“We are joining our peers from across the country and launching CEASE Kansas to demand a clean and safe working environment for the thousands of workers who are the backbone of the gaming industry,” Joe Hafley, founder of CEASE Kansas, said in a news release.
Hafley is a casino security officer.
“Even if I’m not stuck on a gaming table like some of my coworkers, I’m still forced to breathe secondhand smoke throughout my shift and go home smelling like cigarettes,” he said.
He said CEASE Kansas has already been successful in getting several lawmakers to cosponsor legislation to close the casino smoking loophole, and it passed the Kansas Senate in April.
According to CEASE, Kansas is one of about a dozen states still allowing smoking in casinos.
“Casino workers all over the country are sick and tired of risking our health over the false perception that casinos will make more money by allowing the outdated practice of indoor smoking,” Pete Naccarelli, a co-founder of CEASE, said in the news release. “We shouldn’t have to endure dangerous secondhand smoke, putting our lives on the line every day simply to make a paycheck and support our families. No casino in America should have indoor smoking, period.”
CEASE cites a report by Las Vegas-based C3 Gaming that found that adopting smoke-free policies no longer causes a dramatic drop in gaming revenue.
“Non-smoking properties appear to be performing better than their counterparts that continue to allow smoking,” the C3 Gaming report says.
CEASE says that engineers who design ventilation systems do not believe the systems significantly reduce the health risks of smoking.
We reached out to the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission to get its response to CEASE Kansas.
Randy Evans, KRGC government relations manager, responded:
“As a regulatory body, KRGC is neutral on this issue, and does not take a position. KRGC enforces state statue and regulations, which currently, allow for smoking on the casino floor.”