84°F
weather icon Clear

Do Nevadans support smoke-free casinos? New poll gives insight

Almost 60 percent of Nevada voters said they would support banning smoking in casinos, according to a new poll released Tuesday from a state clean air advocacy group.

Fifty-eight percent of voters surveyed said they would support a potential law that made all workplaces in Nevada, including casinos, completely smoke-free while indoors, the poll commissioned by the Nevada Tobacco Control and Smoke-free Coalition found. Meanwhile, 39 percent opposed such a law.

Nevada voters also said they viewed elected officials who voted for an indoor smoking ban more favorably, 55 percent to 35 percent, according to the poll.

Public health and worker advocates say the poll is a first step toward changing the state’s Clean Indoor Air Act, which exempts casinos and stand-alone bars from clean air regulations, or implementing a ban through other legislation. The coalition, made up of about 40 public health, rural services and medical groups, said it was impressed with how many respondents were not persuaded by the argument that a smoking ban would hurt casinos economically. Results show 43 percent were unconvinced and 38 percent were convinced that it would have a negative impact.

“We know even if we’ll be outspent by the opposition, Nevada voters would still continue to support it,” Nicole Chacon, manager at Nevada Tobacco Control and Smoke-free Coalition, said.

The Nevada Resort Association declined to comment because it had not seen the poll.

Polling firm Normington Petts polled 800 registered Nevada voters in January through live interviews, landlines, mobile and text-to-web surveys, the methodology states.

United Auto Workers, representing about 3,000 casino workers at MGM Resorts International, Caesars Entertainment, Wynn Resorts and other properties, is also weighing in. The UAW is behind a lawsuit filed on April 5 to close the loophole in Atlantic City and the Las Vegas local supports the smoke-free coalition’s work.

“I have been a dealer for 30 years, and in that time, I’ve seen a lot of the health of the long-term dealers decline – asthma, bronchitis, heart disease, breathing issues,” said Paula Larson-Schusster, UAW Local 3555 president and a dealer at the Flamingo. “A lot of people’s health situations during the three months (of COVID-19-related casino closures) got better. But unfortunately, that only lasted for a short time and they allowed smoking again.”

A University of Nevada, Reno study released Wednesday found second-hand smoke in indoor casino areas is up to 18 times more harmful than outdoor levels, including in family-friendly areas like restaurants and arcades.

Asked whether UAW’s lawsuit in New Jersey was inspiring, Larson-Schusster said the UAW is exploring multiple ways to get non-smoking legislation in front of decision makers.

“I’m willing to use any tool in the toolbox that will get me to that point,” Larson-Schusster said.

Culinary Local 226 officials were not involved with the polling. Secretary-Treasurer Ted Pappageorge said the union representing most Strip hospitality workers is paying close attention to the Atlantic City effort. But he pointed out the political challenge it would be to get the loophole closed here.

“You can see the big fight we had over daily room cleaning and even Democrats caved and followed the company’s lead on daily room cleaning,” Pappageorge said. “It’s some of the same issues.”

McKenna Ross is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms. Contact her at mross@reviewjournal.com. Follow @mckenna_ross_ on X.

THE LATEST
Historic Saline Valley salt tram tower pulled down

DEATH VALLEY, Calif. – The National Park Service is seeking information about recent damage to a historic salt tram tower in Saline Valley. It appears the 113-year-old tower was pulled over while a person used a winch to extract their vehicle out of deep mud. The damage happened sometime between April 1 and April 24.

 
Need a Real ID? Time is running out to get one in Nevada

To meet federal requirements, Real IDs will be needed for anyone looking to use their driver’s license to get through security at airports for domestic flights nationwide.

Circus coming to Pahrump

The Kiwanis Club of Pahrump Valley is sponsoring the Hugo, Oklahoma-based Culpepper and Merriweather Great Combined Circus which is coming to Pahrump at Petrack Park on Saturday, May 4 and Sunday, May 5. There will be two 90-minute shows each day at 2 p.m. and 4:30 p.m., with a free tent-raising and behind-the-scenes tour starting at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday.

Devils Hole pupfish population at 25-year high

The spring count of the Devils Hole pupfish, one of the world’s rarest fishes, showed that the population is at its highest since the spring count taken in 1999.

Sportsman’s Quest: You always remember the firsts

While looking through my old picture albums I noticed many of the pictures, and the ones I enjoy most, are of firsts – pictures of my first deer, first bear, first sheep, and first salmon. Perhaps this shouldn’t be surprising, as our memories of first events are often most vivid, and we have a special feeling for other firsts as well.

Meet the new manager for the Nye County Animal Shelter

A little more than a year and a half ago, the new 79-dog capacity no-kill Nye County Animal Shelter opened and promptly received a baptism by fire a few days later when more than 300 abused and neglected Caucasian shepherds were seized, overwhelming the facility’s capacities and resources, and capturing national headlines. These days, the shelter has returned to its normal intended function but with new leadership in place.

Beatty plans recreational facilities on 76 acres

BEATTY — The Beatty General Improvement District has big plans for 76 acres of land south of the high school and east of the town cemetery.