Wednesday, September twentieth 2023, 6:40 PM EDT
HARRISBURG, Pa. (ErieNewsNow) – Whether or not you’re a frequent slots participant or the occasional casino-goer, you’re most likely conversant in the distinct scent inside most Pennsylvania casinos: cigarette smoke.
“Once they stroll right into a on line casino in Pennsylvania, they’re simply hit with that overwhelming stench. Typically it is surprising,” stated Michael Danay, a on line casino employee of 20 years, and no stranger to secondhand smoke.
“It is each single day. You recognize, each single day we undergo this. It’s tough,” stated Danay.
Pennsylvania banned smoking inside public buildings like motels and eating places after passing the Clear Indoor Air Act of 2008. Nonetheless, there are exemptions for casinos, personal golf equipment and a few bars. Now, fifteen years after the regulation handed, Democratic state lawmakers say it’s time for an replace to shut the loopholes.
“Fifteen years in the past, this commonwealth took an infinite step ahead in guaranteeing that our employees aren’t pressured to breathe in poisonous smoke – it’s time to complete the job,” stated Rep. Dan Frankel (D-Allegheny), Majority Chair of the Home Well being Committee.
Lawmakers and advocates, like Danay, say encouraging out of doors smoking at casinos and different venues is more healthy and that it has been completed earlier than.
“When it got here time to smoke, they might step exterior. After which after they have been completed, they might step again inside. It is not that troublesome,” stated Danay.
After quickly closing their doorways in 2020, Pennsylvania casinos have been capable of reopen with common masking and no smoking. However the COVID period coverage didn’t linger.
“Once they reintroduced it after COVID, that was the final straw,” stated Danay.
Frankel says Home Bill 1657 has three major objectives:
- Get rid of loopholes that depart employees uncovered to secondhand smoke,
- Broaden the regulation to cowl e-cigarettes and battle the rise in vaping-related diseases,
- Give localities the flexibility to enact smoke-free ordinances which might be extra protecting than state regulation
“Pennsylvania’s employees mustn’t must sacrifice their well being for a paycheck, however the knowledge reveals that’s precisely what’s taking place. Why ought to anyone must danger their well being so as to hold a job,” stated Frankel.
A major concern with the laws, dropped at mild throughout a Well being Committee listening to Wednesday morning, is the affect the invoice may have on sure small companies, like cigar bars and lounges.
Chairman Frankel says the laws will want bipartisan assist, which may imply making compromises with Republicans to assist sure small companies.
“There’s a possibility to speak about these companies. On the finish of the day, we now have to do every part doable to maximise good public well being coverage in Pennsylvania, and that is the objective of this,” stated Frankel.