A Bill Banning Smoking at Casinos in PA Passes the House Committee

Alex Nesterenko
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a bill banning smoking at casinos in pa passes the house committee

We are getting closer to banning smoking by patrons inside PA casinos with the Protecting Workers from Secondhand Smoke Act. On the morning of November 15, Legislator Dan Frankel, a Democrat from Allegheny County, and his fellow members voted to approve the measure out of the Health Committee.

Although there are still many steps to take, the goal of banning smoking at brick-and-mortar casinos in PA is becoming closer to reality.

The PA Casino Smoking Ban Left the Committee with an Affirmative Vote

The Protecting Workers from Secondhand Smoke Act, also known as House Bill 1657, seeks to eliminate provisions in the Clean Indoor Air Act of 2008 that permitted smoking in certain indoor spaces, including Pennsylvanian casinos.

On November 15, at a Health Committee hearing, Rep. Frankel reported that the measure was approved by a vote of 13 to 11. It’s in the name: they are the Health Committee, according to Frankel, who expressed his complete certainty that the measure would pass. They cannot stand by and do nothing as thousands of Pennsylvanians are forced to decide between their capacity to provide for their families and an unquestionable health risk.

The Protecting Workers from Secondhand Smoking Act would, according to the news release:

  • Close gaps in the Clean Indoor Air Act that expose employees to secondhand smoke, which may be carcinogenic;
  • To counter the growth of diseases associated with vaping, broaden the definition of smoking to include e-cigarettes;
  • Permit local governments to implement smoke-free policies that go above and beyond state regulations.

The only casinos in PA that prohibit smoking are Parx Casino’s locations in Bensalem and Shippensburg. Frankel offered another justification for banning smoking by pointing out that Bensalem is the state’s highest-grossing casino. Frankel said that it’s absurd to claim that smoking bans hurt businesses when the most prosperous casino in PA is voluntarily smoke-free.

Now that the measure is on the House floor, a further vote is required in order for it to pass.

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