I can't tell you the number of emails I have received from casinos these past months that start with "Your health is of the upmost importance to us". But you have to wonder, do they really mean that or are they just conforming to the narrative because it's popular right now? I mean, if they REALLY cared about our health, AND the health of their staff, WHY do they allow smoking of cigarettes, cigars and vaping on the casino floor when we know it so harmful to us?
My fans are full of smokers and non-smokers, and full disclosure - I used to smoke for many years (we're the worst kind of people because we HATE smoke after the fact, haha). That aside, I have since done my research on smoking in the USA and beyond, and will do my best to provide an open and honest opinion piece to not offend anyone. This article will solely be based on facts and quotes from our fans.
Ever since attending my first G2E (Global Gaming Expo where they showcase the newest in Slot Machines, Technology and other casino related services) 4 years ago, I connected with the Americans for Nonsmokers Rights Foundation (ANRF). They are a nonprofit, "working to create a healthier, smokefree world and to raise a tobacco-free generation." I loved what I heard. As part of our initiative, we are supporting and visiting casinos who have recently gone nonsmoking like Agua Caliente, Angel of the Winds, Cherokee and Soboba.
There really are ZERO studies on how many gamblers are actually smokers. We (casinos and gamblers) seem to think that the majority of gamblers smoke. I mean, the majority of slot machine / table game areas are in smoking sections - and casinos must do their math and research right? RIGHT? Wrong. They have actually told me to my face that the majority of their slot dollars come from the smoking section, which is based on great stats, and very true, HOWEVER that's from casinos whose non-smoking section is full of 50 slot machines from the 1990's. Seriously. And there is zero separation between sections aside from a 3x4 sign. So their results are quite skewed.
Because our safety wasn't important BEFORE?
Let's get to the facts straight before I upset my smoking fans and their rights....
I'm not trying to take away your rights...because smoking is actually not a right. If it were, you should have banned yourself from supporting restaurants, bars, theaters, malls or traveling on airplanes as they took away those rights from you many years ago.
Ok, NOW for the facts...
13% of the USA are currently smokers. That's 1 in every 8.7 people! Yet 100% of the population (that's 10 in 10 people to be clear), must breathe in secondhand smoke. The Surgeon General has even stated that there is "no risk-free level of secondhand smoke". Exposure to secondhand smoking causes an estimated 41,000 deaths per year in the US.
Now these aren't stats we didn't know. We always knew it was bad for us, but sometimes it takes a single incident in time or a pandemic to open our eyes to it.
Now for the REAL facts
A longstanding argument is that casinos would go out of business if they barred smoking. Well, have a look at the restaurant and bar industry. People argued that smoking and drinking went hand in hand and that they'd go out of business - and guess what? People still eat and drink - just like they'll still eat, drink, see shows, go to nightclubs and gamble!
Last month we decided to host a SURVEY with our Rudies Members. We had over 900 members respond. These are real answers from real gamblers. The results were informational and we are looking to expanding our reach to all of YOU! Please fill out our survey as truthfully as possible so we can continue to grow our real responses.
Based on responses by July 9, here are our findings...
17% Age 18-39
53% Age 40-59
30% Age 60+
Approximately 1 in 5 Rudies are smokers. So contrary to popular belief that majority of gamblers are smokers, our results show differently.
70% of gamblers say that smoke bothers them in a casino.
And a whopping 88% of SMOKERS would choose a Non-Smoking over a Smoking casino, so long as there was a smoking patio with slots (like many casinos like Maryland Live offer). These casinos provide a clean air for ALL patrons and ALL staff, where no one has to walk through a smoking section to get the non smoking one, and no staff have to work.
Here are some anonymous quotes from both sides to close things off:
"I am a smoker so I'm not sure it makes a difference but I do encourage thoughtful smoking. Either do it outside away from others or don't smoke. I have friends who can't/won't go play bingo with me because its smoked out. Id rather not smoke while I play than not play with friends. I would take a break from gaming at a casino if it didn't have games outside, to smoke a cigarette." - smoker
"It hurts my eyes, nose and throat and gives me a headache. It also makes me leave the casino earlier than what I might like due to discomfort." - nonsmoker
"It makes me feel sick and I usually move. If the venue is too full of smoke I will leave and not come back." - nonsmoker
"As a smoker I don't feel I have a right to subject anyone else to my bad habits. If they all went non smoking I would probably do better at the casinos because I would be forced to take a break and go outside instead of chain smoking through those losing sprees." -smoker
"Yes- and that's why-it chases out a lot of us non-smokers who can't handle the smoke. It didn't hurt bars and restaurants to go non-smoking-I am quite sure it would not hurt casino business either." -nonsmoker
"it’s a healthier environment and many non smokers would probably play longer! There are times I must step outside for fresher air! I also can’t stand when a smoker sits by me and causing fun to end!" -nonsmoker
"I think there should be a separate areas for smokers to actively gamble. However as a smoker I do like the non smoking area, it’s cleaner, and can breathe better. Older casinos with poor ventilation are miserable and stinky." - smoker
"My mother was a smoker and died of lung cancer so I am afraid of second hand smoke and with the Corona Virus I am very worried about the virus spreading by smokers when they exhale. When some one vapes you can see the fog spread quite a distance." - nonsmoker
"I think with the virus casinos should be NonSmoking even though I am a smoker because you take a drag you have to exhale. Not safe right now. As a smoker it would be nice if there was an outside venue for smoking. But if there isn’t I’ll just smoke in my car." - smoker
"We as a conscious society need to start putting our health forward and consider the severe impacts of second hand smoke and hold stronger standards. The Coronavirus should be the opportune time for casinos to take a firm stance for the health and safety of both the public in their venues as well as their employees." - nonsmoker
"There is no reason the average person (majority) should be forced to be around other people's smoking. People have the ability to smoke on their own time on their own property. The general public should not have to be exposed to it while at a casino or entertainment venue. It negatively affects a great number of people and things need to change." - nonsmoker
Based on the above, majority of gamblers in our study agree that the time to make casinos nonsmoking is now. It has been proven to have ZERO effect in countries like Canada and Australia who have gone completely non-smoking. The rest of the USA already went mostly non-smoking many years ago due to health concerns. Couple that with the pandemic right now and everything we have learned - it is the right time to shift smoking to outdoor areas once and for all in casinos and everywhere.
So what do you think?? Have your say NOW by taking our survey!
Brian Christopher is a popular YouTube Star specializing in Slot Machine Gambling Videos