A bill to expand the smoking ban in the state of Colorado has advanced through the state house and now moves on to the state senate. House Bill 1269 would ban smoking in casinos in Colorado. When the smoking ban was passed last year, casinos were one of the few exemptions where smokers could still smoke and it has created controversy ever since. It cleared the state house with relative ease with a vote of 36-29.
Last year when the bill was passed, I was amazed that this exemption was in there but you have to remember the strong lobby that the casinos have. The smoking ban has been good for employees in the state and for all of those non-smokers who visit those establishments. Casino ownes are trying to scare the legislators saying that the tax revenue will go down 20% - 35% if this ban goes into effect. But I doubt that this will happen.
Contrary to what those business owners and casino owners are saying the smoking ban will reduce business, more people are going out and revenues are up. The city of Boulder has seen an increase in revenues since the smoking ban went into effect. Revenues were up 3.14% from January 1997 to October 1997. You can read more about the economic impacts of smoking bans at BREATH, the California Smoke-free Bars, Workplaces and Communities Program. With this and the other improvements in other states, the reveunes will not go down.
The non-smoking workers in casinos have taken health tests and most of them test like they smoke two packs a day. That is crazy. The state must do more to protect them and the patrons who are non-smokers.
I hope the Senate comes through and passes this to. If not, I expect to see a petition on our next state election to enact this ban. If the legislators can't do it, then the people will.
You can read more in the Rocky Mountain News. Link...