Pennsylvania Casino Workers Protest At State Capital To Ban Smoking

Pennsylvania Casino Workers Protest At State Capital To Ban Smoking

On Tuesday, Pennsylvania casino smoking opponents gathered at the Harrisburg Capitol. They called upon state lawmakers to support workers’ health. Additionally, they’re asking for the 17 brick-and-mortar casinos in PA to go smoke-free. The Pennsylvania Casino Employees Against Smoking Effects (CEASE) joined the United Auto Workers Region 9 union to rally for bills still lingering in the state capital building. One policy CEASE supports is House Bill 1657. Known as the Protecting Workers From Secondhand Smoking Act. 

In September 2023, House Bill 1657 was introduced by Rep. Dan Frankel. He chairs the House Health Committee and has been working for years to close the casino smoking loophole. Jenifer Rubolino had this to say about CEASE helping keep everyone in the workplace safe.

Legislators have a responsibility to stand with workers and that means ensuring the safety of everyone in the workplace, starting with eliminating indoor smoking in our casinos,” said Jennifer Rubolino. “Closing the casino smoking loophole is not just a moral duty but a smart decision for the state, especially considering that 90% of guests do not smoke.”

The Pennsylvania CEASE is worried about health over profits

Much like any form of government, Democrats and Republicans are going to have their differences. In Pennsylvania, Republican lawmakers have sided with the casino lobby. They claim that an outright ban on smoking would push gamblers to nearby Atlantic City, New Jersey. Indoor smoking is still allowed in certain sections. Casinos note that revenue would be reduced and jobs could be lost. 

In PA, there are 17 brick-and-mortar casinos. Only two of them, Parx Casino and Parx Casino Shippensburg do not take advantage of allowing smoking. The primary Parx property has been one of the most profitable casinos in PA for several years. They get a majority of the public who are not fans of casinos that allow indoor smoking. Jenifer Rubolino believes these companies should put the health of their employees as a top priority. She had this to say.

We’ve seen the success of smoke-free casinos in this state,” said Rubolino. “How do you put a price on the health of employees? We urge legislators to pass comprehensive smoke-free laws to ensure that no one has to sacrifice their health for a paycheck,”

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