Toxins from thirdhand smoke still found in casinos months after smoking ban

Banning smoking in casinos, hotels, and private homes years after tobacco smoke was allowed in these places doesn’t free people who go there from experiencing the effects of nicotine.

A new study showed that years of having smokers in the premises led to a heavy buildup of thirdhand smoke on walls, furniture, and carpets of a Northern Carolina casino.

The residue level dropped after smoking was prohibited.  But six months later, the tobacco level remained high, not only in the casino, but in other places where people inhaled large amounts of nicotine.

  • This development impacts on the health and well-being of casino staff and high rollers who go there regularly.
  • The study’s main author, psychologist Georg Matt also said that these findings should persuade casino operators to ban smoking “sooner than later.”
  • The study also affects casino operations because it entails expense and extra effort in reducing and stopping the effect of harmful tobacco.
  • The research team examined a 25-year-old casino outside Redding, California. It imposed a smoking ban 21 years after it opened its doors to the public. The ban was lifted 11 months after.
  • Before the ban was imposed, researchers studied surface samples in the casino. They took samples again six times while the ban was on. They examined the fingers and urine of non-smokers who went to the casino.
  • The team looked for nicotine, cotinine, and the carcinogen NNK  in the sample materials they gathered.
  • Six months after, the researchers found out that nonsmokers who went to the casino regularly inhaled more thirdhand smoke than those who lived with smokers.
  • This puts non-smoking casino goers at risk of getting greater amounts of thirdhand smoke than those who had a smoker at home.
  •  Casino operators must replace carpets, furniture, wallpaper, drapes, and curtains to save employees and guests from thirdhand smoke.
  • Smokers should not light a cigarette indoors because it takes longer to rid the place of tobacco residues.

Journal reference

George E. Matt, Penelope J. E. Quintana, Eunha Hoh, Joy M. Zakarian, Zohir Chowdhury, Melbourne F. Hovell, Peyton Jacob, Kayo Watanabe, Teaba S. Theweny, Victoria Flores, Anh Nguyen, Narinder Dhaliwal, Gary Hayward. A CASINO GOES SMOKE FREE: A LONGITUDINAL STUDY OF SECONDHAND AND THIRDHAND SMOKE POLLUTION AND EXPOSURE. BMJ Journals, Feb. 8, 2018. DOI: 10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2017-054052




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