Lung Association Urges Pennsylvania Lawmakers to Permanently Close Smoking Loophole

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HARRISBURG, PAThis month marks one year since Pennsylvania casinos reopened as smoke-free during the pandemic, protecting the lung health of both patrons and hospitality workers.

The American Lung Association Director of Advocacy in Pennsylvania Molly Pisciottano said:

“As of this Monday, Pennsylvania casinos are now permitted to allow smoking, exposing people once again to the dangers of secondhand smoke. Smoke-free casinos are good for business and good for health as the state has realized record-breaking gaming revenues while maintaining 100% smoke-free indoor air. Additionally, a study of air quality in the state’s hospitality industry before and after the Clean Indoor Air Act in locations across the state found that indoor air pollution levels in newly smoke-free venues declined by nearly 90%, protecting the lung health of both patron and hospitality workers.”

“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke; now is the time to remove the loopholes in the Clean Indoor Air Act that leave hundreds of patrons and hospitality workers exposed to secondhand smoke, including casino workers. We encourage lawmakers to permanently close the smokefree loophole and prohibit smoking in all workplaces, including Pennsylvania casinos. During the COVID-19 pandemic, it has become painstakingly clear how important the ability to breathe is. We must continue moving forward with strong policies to protect lung health.”

“Secondhand smoke has 7,000 chemicals, including 70 that cause cancer. Exposure to secondhand smoke causes an estimated 41,000 deaths from lung cancer and heart disease among adults each year in the United States. Secondhand smoke exposure in nonsmokers increases the risk of stroke 20% to 30 and secondhand aerosol from e-cigarettes can be harmful as well. In 2016, the Surgeon General concluded that secondhand emissions contain, “nicotine; ultrafine particles; flavorings such as diacetyl, a chemical linked to serious lung disease; volatile organic compounds such as benzene, which is found in car exhaust; and heavy metals, such as nickel, tin, and lead. The time to permanently protect Pennsylvania’s casino workers and patrons to improve public health is now.”

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