Study Finds Growing Support Among Washoe County Residents for Smoke-Free Casinos
A research project was recently published by the Journal of Hospital Management and Health Policy, indicating that 60 percent of Washoe County residents (and 74 percent of Washoe County non-smokers) would favor a law prohibiting smoking in all casinos in Washoe County. Slightly more – 63 percent (and 74 percent of Washoe County non-smokers) favor a law prohibiting smoking in bars.
Background: In 2006, Nevada voters approved the Nevada Clean Indoor Air Act, which prohibited smoking in many public places but exemptions still allowed smoking in casinos and 21-and-over bars. The 2016 Nevada Adult Tobacco Survey showed support for prohibiting smoking in casinos (52.9%) and bars (44.6%) but a more detailed understanding of the current level of support—or lack thereof—for 100% smoke-free locations in Washoe County is needed.
Assistant Professor Eric Crosbie is a political scientist who examines commercial determinants of health and public health policy
Research shows locals in favor of expanding smoke-free laws to include casinos and bars. Growing support for smoke-free casinos and bars indicates this should be a priority discussion in protecting the health of Washoe County citizens. Doing so will further reduce the social acceptability of smoking in public places, continue to disentangle the association of smoking and gambling, and help reduce second hand smoke (SHS) exposure to employees and visiting customers.
The UNR study, led by University Assistant Professor Eric Crosbie "Expanding smoke-free communities: attitudes and beliefs surrounding smoke-free casinos and bars in Washoe County, Nevada" found the following:
- 60 percent of Washoe County residents (and 74 percent of Washoe County non-smokers) would favor a law prohibiting smoking in all casinos in Washoe County.
- Support has increased since voters approved the Nevada Clean Indoor Air Act in 2006, which prohibited smoking in public but carved out an exemption for casinos.
- 77 percent of residents dislike smelling like smoke after visiting a casino or bar.
- 65 percent agree that smoke bothers them in these establishments.
- A majority of residents would both be more likely to visit a casino and bar and also find them more enjoyable if they were completely smoke free.
- 79 percent of residents believe customers should be able to breathe smokefree air while only 21 percent believe businesses should be able to decide to allow smoking.
In the United States, cigarette smoking remains the leading cause of preventable death. It is responsible for more than 480,000 annual deaths, including more than 41,000 deaths resulting from secondhand smoke (SHS) exposure (1). To curb the tobacco epidemic, governments have introduced policies to create smoke-free environments, which have shown to reduce death and diseases associated with SHS, reduce the number of people who start smoking, motivate smokers to quit, and protect workers from the dangers of SHS
“This study was conducted before Covid-19 hit the U.S. so given increased health and safety concerns due to the pandemic this represents a golden opportunity and presents an additional incentive for bar and casino establishments to go smoke-free.”
- Eric Crosbie, PhD, MA, University of Reno
The research study has been featured by the American Non-Smokers Rights Foundation as well. Assistant Professor Eric Crosbie is a political scientist who examines commercial determinants of health and public health policy.