PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Over the last 15 years, most Pennsylvanians have been breathing easier when they go to work or to a restaurant.
In 2008, the Clean Indoor Air Act banned most public smoking. But an exception still allows smoking at some businesses, like certain bars, tobacco shops and casinos.
Now, there's a move to end the exception and protect more Pennsylvanians from exposure to secondhand smoke.
State Rep. Dan Frankel said the bill is not an attack on smokers or businesses. He said it is all about the workers who have to spend eight hours or more breathing in cancer-causing secondhand smoke.
On Wednesday, Frankel was joined by members of Casino Employees Against Smoking Effects who testified at a hearing.
When the Clean Indoor Air Act passed in 2008, it banned smoking in most places except certain kinds of bars, tobacco and cigar shops and casinos.
This proposed ban would cover those places and include cigarettes, cigars, and vapes.
One 20-year casino worker testified that his asthma got "better" when the pandemic hit, which is when casinos started requiring masks and banning smoking. But all the symptoms of wheezing and coughing came back when restrictions were lifted and smokers lit up again.
Representative Frankel said that the casinos were invited to the hearing on Wednesday but did not come.
Rivers Casino released a statement, saying:
"Currently, Rivers Casino Pittsburgh features designated smoking and nonsmoking areas of our gaming floor. All restaurants, BetRivers Sportsbook, Poker Room, The Event Center, banquet rooms and The Landing Hotel are nonsmoking. Decisions about smoking in Pennsylvania's casinos are made by the State Legislature, and Rivers will, of course, comply with whatever the Commonwealth mandates."
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