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Tribal Green Casinos: Air Quality

Tribal Green Casinos: Ventilation and Smoke-Free/Reduced Facilities

Air Quality

Presented by: Mansel Nelson, Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals

  • Smoking is the number one cause of cancer.
  • Radon is the second leading cause of cancer.
  • Second hand smoke is the third leading cause of cancer.
  • Cancer is the second leading cause of U.S. deaths.

Smoking causes cancer of the bladder, oral cavity, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, cervix, kidney lung, pancreas and stomach. Smokers are 10x more likely to develop peripheral vascular disease. More deaths result yearly from smoking than deaths by HIV, illegal drugs, alcohol use, motor vehicle injuries, suicides and murders combined. There are an estimated 438,000 tobacco related deaths every year in the U.S.

Second hand smoke (environmental tobacco smoke, or ETS) is not a choice, particularly for children. It is a choice for patrons: whether or not to bring their business to a particular smoking casino. Second hand smoke is a difficult choice for employees. Those who need the paying job must choose whether or not to compromise their personal health. Smoking is a personal choice but second hand smoke is not.

The Basic Principles of Indoor Air Quality:

(Listed in order of preferred action)

1. Source Control

According to ASHRAE a building technology society which focuses on building systems, energy efficiency, indoor air quality, refrigeration and sustainability within the industry.

2. Ventilation in a smoking casino

Specific ventilation rate requirements cannot be determined because “acceptable risk” has not yet been determined. Smoking areas should have more and the highest quality ventilation in comparison to nonsmoking areas. Air from smoking areas should not be re-circulated or transferred to nonsmoking areas. 100% clean outside air should be used for ventilation. Proper ventilation in a smoking casino requires a high energy cost because 100% outside air must be used and this requires heating or cooling the new air to the right temperature before pumping it into the casino.

3. Air Cleaning

The use of air cleaners alone cannot ensure adequate air quality, particularly in an indoor smoking facility or a facility with poor ventilation.

Air cleaning Don’ts:

  • Ozone: smells nice, often referred to as ‘spring fresh air.’ However, ozone is an air pollutant.
  • Machines which output ozone into the air are sometimes sold using a different name.
  • Ozone + cigarette smoke = a chemical reaction creating dangerous air pollutants
  • Air fresheners attempt to cover up the smoke but do not improve air quality.
  • Do not use electronic or electrostatic cleaners which cause particles to clump together and fall out of the air. This does not eliminate them: the particles adhere to walls, floors and furniture and are readmitted into the atmosphere when they are disturbed. Electrostatic cleaners can also output ozone into the air.

Surgeon General’s Warning

Second hand smoke is the single greatest avoidable cause of death and disease. Scientific evidence indicates that there is no risk free level of exposure to second hand smoke. Eliminating smoking indoors is the only way to fully protect nonsmokers.

  • Separating smokers and nonsmokers does not protect nonsmokers.
  • “Cleaning the air” does not protect nonsmokers.
  • Ventilating buildings does not protect nonsmokers.

HEPA Filters

HEPA filters eliminate 99.97% of hazardous particles from cigarette smoke. However the .03% that remain are the most dangerous. HEPA filters are expensive products which do eliminate a portion of the risk. However, they remain uncertified as an appropriate or effective method of cleaning tobacco smoke polluted air.

Health effects from tobacco smoke cannot be eliminated filtration or ventilation.

Monitoring Air Quality in Smoking Casinos

  • ASHRAE uses 15 micrograms/m3 for PM2.5 standard if there are no carcinogens. This standard does not apply to indoor smoking areas.
  • PM2.5 measurements can be taken to identify areas of greatest contamination because particles 2.5 and smaller pose the greatest health risk.
  • It is recommended that Co2 measurements inside be approximately the same as the outside.
  • To achieve outdoor Co2 levels requires vigorous ventilation using 100% outside air on a very regular basis.

Remember: the only way to fully protect nonsmokers is to make a building 100% smoke free. If smoking is allowed, aggressive ventilation will reduce health risks and discomfort for the employees and patrons. Children should never be exposed to second hand smoke.

Find more information on Air Cleaning

View the air quality fact sheet

Smoke-Free Casinos

Presented by: Pam Shaw, General Manager of the Kaw Nation’s South Wind Casino – Kaw City

South Wind Casino – Kaw City opened March 25th, 2013 and is proud to be Oklahoma’s 1st and only 100% smoke-free casino. A comfortable and convenient smoking area is provided outside, away from the front doors.

In one week, a total of 918 people joined Kaw City casino’s players’ club. In less than a month the number of participants grew to 2,598 despite the casino’s 100% smoke-free status.

Did you know?

  • Smoking casinos have up to 30 times more cancer-causing particles in the air than city highways and streets do when clogged with diesel trucks during rush hour traffic.
  • The claim that gamblers are smokers is a myth; studies show that an average 80% of patrons do not smoke.
  • 70% of polled poker players agree that all poker tournaments should be smoke-free.
  • Even in “well-ventilated” casinos, casino employees have metabolized nicotine (cotinine) levels 300%-600% higher during a shift than in a non-smoking workplace.
  • There are over 500 state-regulated 100% smoke-free gambling facilities in the U.S. (not including bingo or off track betting)
  • There are 12 non-state-regulated, 100% smoke-free tribal casinos throughout the U.S.

View the Kaw Nation South Wind Casino fact sheet

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