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Colorado Casinos Clear the Air and Become Smoke-Free in 2008
Date:12/17/2007

Jan. 1 Marks a New Era for Casino Patrons and Employees

DENVER, Dec. 17 /PRNewswire/ -- At 8 a.m. on Jan. 1, 2008, employees and visitors at Colorado casinos will experience a breath of fresh air, as all state-licensed casinos will be completely smoke-free to comply with the Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act. The removal of the casinos' exemption will protect casino employees and guests from exposure to secondhand smoke, which, according to the Surgeon General, accounts for nearly 53,000 deaths a year in the United States alone.

"This is another step in creating a healthier environment for Coloradoans," said R.J. Ours, director of government relations for the American Cancer Society - Great West Division. "Since the law went into effect, we've seen vast improvements in air quality for hospitality venues, eliminating exposure to dangerous secondhand smoke."

While casinos were exempt from the law, an air quality study found that employees and patrons were exposed to "unhealthy" indoor air pollution levels, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. This rating indicates that people in casinos were exposed to secondhand smoke levels that posed a threat to their health.

Bars and taverns, however, saw air quality improve by 90 percent in the first year of the smoke-free law. Those venues also had "unhealthy" levels of air pollution prior the law, and now the level has changed to a "good" rating, indicating that the air pollution poses little or no health risk. Casinos can look forward to a similar improvement in air quality in 2008.

The Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act was implemented on July 1, 2006, and prohibits smoking in most public places including bars and restaurants. The goal of the law was to create healthier environments in which Colorado residents can live, work and in the case of the state's casinos -- play.

"We know the casinos will see the positive impacts of the Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act," said Ci
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SOURCE American Heart Association; American Cancer Society;American Lung
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