Colorado’s smoke-free casino law celebrates fifth anniversary

Jan. 1 marked the fifth anniversary of the state law that made Colorado casinos smoke-free. The smoke-free casino law was passed by the state legislature in 2007 and went into effect in Jan. 1, 2008. The law was designed to protect the health of both the public and casino employees by reducing their exposure to the chemicals in tobacco smoke. The smoke-free casino law followed the state’s 2006 Clean Indoor Air Act, which made many workplaces, including bars and restaurants, smoke-free. Both laws came as a result of the scientific evidence showing the dangers of secondhand smoke and the momentum created by local communities passing smoke-free laws in years prior.

“Having a workplace where I finish my day without burning eyes, lungs and smelling like smoke has been wonderful,” said Treva, a blackjack dealer in Colorado. “Today, smoke-free air is what people have come to expect in the casinos.”

According to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, our smoke-free laws, the voter-approved Amendment 35 tobacco tax increase and public health interventions that accompanied it, have resulted in more than 100,000 fewer smokers in Colorado since 2005.

“Smoke-free laws save lives, reduce health-care costs and are an important part of making our state and our workforce healthier, more productive,” said Cindy Liverance, vice president of Programs for the American Lung Association in Colorado.

Nationwide, the number of smoke-free places and communities continues to grow:

Nineteen states have laws requiring gaming to be 100 percent smoke-free.

In total, there are more than 500 smoke-free gaming establishments nationwide.

More than 200 communities and the states of Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Washington, and the Commonwealth Puerto Rico require outdoor bar and dining patios to be smoke-free.

More than 600 communities have 100 percent smoke-free parks laws.

For more information, go to www.smokefreecolorado.org  or contact the Colorado Tobacco Education and Prevention Alliance at 720-508-4290 or e-mail bdoyle@ctepa.org .

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