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US – Anti-smoking group wants casinos that allow smoking off the relief list

By - 7 December 2020

Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights, an anti-smoking group based in California has sent a letter to the American Gaming Association (AGA) saying the coronavirus relief fund shouldn’t be offered to casinos that have not banned smoking ban.

The two-page letter from (ANR) addressed to AGA president and CEO Bill Miller argues that casino operators should only qualify for financial relief if they agree to implement a smoke-free policy.

President and CEO of the ANR, Cynthia Hallet, said: “We take issue with casinos potentially receiving such relief funding that is necessitated by a pandemic involving respiratory issues while still permitting an activity — indoor smoking — that promotes the spread of COVID-19.”

The letter outlines how ‘smoking, vaping, and exposure to secondhand smoke and aerosols can increase risks associated with COVID-19 transmission. Removing face coverings to smoke or vape indoors undermines the proven benefit of face coverings and increases the risk of transmitting or inhaling COVID-19 via infectious respiratory droplets, uncovered coughs, and increased touching of faces.’

Southern Nevada Health District, Washoe County Health District, and Carson City Health and Human Services added: “Businesses cannot adequately reinforce the proven risk reduction strategy of wearing face coverings while also allowing smoking… The primary mode of transmission of the virus is through person-to-person spread of respiratory droplets. As people remove face coverings to smoke or vape, they are exhaling respiratory droplets over a longer distance. The act itself requires individuals to more frequently touch their face and mouths – another direct contradiction to recommended COVID-19 prevention strategies.”

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