New Casino Study Shows Dangers of Secondhand Smoke


In recent years most casinos, bingo halls and workplaces in the United States have adopted a smoke free policy. Many bingo players were not happy with the bans but recent studies have shown that there is a good reason for the bans. In the UK a national smoking ban caused serious disruptions in the bingo industry and many halls were forced to close because of declining player numbers. Now scientists say that just minutes of exposure to secondhand smoke can put some people at risk.


After exposure to secondhand smoke platelets are activated and become stick They can form clots that can lead to a stroke or heart attack. The smoke also inhibits the blood vessels ability to  expand and contract. Stanton Glantz, a professor of medicine at the University of California, told reporters “I’m sure you’ve heard, ‘If you’re having a heart attack, take an aspirin. Aspirin is an anti-platelet agent. And what the smoke is doing is exactly the opposite.” Glantz’s latest resaearch analyzed ambulance calls from casinos shows the dangers of secondhand smoke. Smoking bans in Pennsylvania and New Jersey exempt casinos. Colorado’s law changed during the 13 year study period.


On July 1, 2006 Colorado imposed a smoking ban on all  workplaces, public spaces, restaurants, and bars. Casinos were exempt from the ban. After the ban Ambulance calls in  Gilpin County dropped 23% but ambulance calls to the county’s 23 casinos remained unchanged. On January 1st 2008 casinos were added to the ban and Ambulance calls from casinos quickly dropped by 19%! Several studies found declines of 20% in hospitalizations after comprehensive smoking bans went into effect. The studies found that the drop was due to less secondhand smoke and more smokers quitting the habit.


By closely studying the emergency calls from casinos where players visit for specific periods of time Glantz’s study was able to isolate the effects of exposure to secondhand smoke in casinos. Jennifer Ibrahim, an associate professor of public health at Temple University said that the study did not track reasons for the ambulance calls or outcomes. Elevated blood pressure, wheezing and runny eyes were not recorded by the study. Ibrahim told reporters “It is probably 10 times that for people who are experiencing symptoms, but might not need a trip to a hospital.”


For years tobacco companies have lobbied for casino examptions to smoking bans. Recently American casino mogul Sheldon Adelson tried to bully the Spanish government into giving his Euro Vegas project an examption from the country’s strict smoking ban. So far the Spanish government has refused to grant the exemption. Glantz said that politicians that say they are concerned by health care costs should read his research. Glantz stated “A heart attack is a lot of money” and taxpayers foot the bill.


Many bingo players in states that exempt bingo halls from smoking bans avoided secondhand smoke by playing internet bingo. Smoking is socially unacceptable among the younger generation of bingo players who appreciate the smoke free environment offered by internet bingo. While many bingo halls have reported a decline in players after the imposition of smoking bans more report that player numbers have rebounded and smokers have been replaced by young nonsmokers.