Revel casino's new policy allowing smoking areas is not only unhealthy, it's unethical. Staff and visitors alike are entitled to the same protection from deadly secondhand smoke available everywhere else in New Jersey. Studies have shown that a four-hour visit to a smoke-filled casino can trigger elevated levels of tobacco-specific lung carcinogens. So Revel's policy fails to protect thousands of workers and hundreds of thousands of casino patrons.
Secondhand tobacco smoke kills more than 50,000 Americans every year. Prolonged exposure can lead to respiratory problems, as well as serious illnesses like heart disease and cancer. For workers, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health found that occupational exposure to secondhand smoke increased workers' risk of lung cancer and other diseases, and recommends that all workers be protected from secondhand smoke.
Nobody should be forced to risk their health - or their life - because they're trying to earn an honest wage. It is clear smoke-free casino policies do not hurt gaming. In 2012, New York's smoke-free Resorts World Racino was the nation's leader in slot revenue, taking in $57.5 million during May alone. Revel should overturn its policy and find an ethical way to dig itself out of this financial hole.
Ethan Hasbrouck, New Jersey state advocacy director, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, Trenton