Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers: Casino Workers Risk of Illness from Secondhand Smoke

Posted on

Secondhand smoke is a known occupational hazard for casino workers. While Maryland laws prohibit smoking indoors, every casino provides at least one designated area where guests smoke outside. Now, some casino owners are pushing regulators to allow smokers to have the best of both worlds, thus creating a potentially hazardous work environment for those employed there.

Gambling and smoking have long been linked, and research suggests that gamblers who smoke daily spend more time and more money gambling than non-smokers. This may be why some casino owners are trying to find ways to allow their guests to do both. Horseshoe Casino Baltimore currently boasts eight outdoor smoking terraces where guests can light up while they hit the slots. Horseshoe is currently the only Maryland casino that offers outdoor gaming in smoking areas, but it will soon be joined by at least one other. Rocky Gap Casino Resort in Cumberland is also set to open a new 30-slot gaming and smoking deck this summer.

Indoor smoking bans have been a topic of debate throughout the gaming industry. Casino owners argue that no-smoking policies hurt profits, though several studies have disproved that theory. Health advocates contend that broad smoking bans are critical to the prevention of premature death among U.S. workers. A ban on indoor smoking that allows smokers to puff away outdoors may seem like a good compromise, but health professionals disagree.

In 2006, researchers at Stanford University conducted the first-ever comprehensive study about the effects of exposure to secondhand smoke in an outdoor setting. The results were surprising. According to the study, individuals standing or working within a few feet of a lit cigarette outdoors may be exposed to air pollution levels that are comparable to what they may have been exposed to in an indoor setting. Additionally, the air surrounding a smoker contains as much as 50 times more toxic material than unpolluted air. In other words, indoor smoking bans do not provide casino employees working on or near a smoking patio adequate protection from dangerous exposure to secondhand smoke.

Casino workers engaged in work activities on outdoor smoking decks or patios may be exposed to high levels of several toxins including carcinogens benzene, naphthalene, formaldehyde and acetaldehyde. Secondhand smoke has been shown to greatly increase a non-smoker’s risk of serious health problems including lung cancer, stroke and heart attack. According to the Centers for Disease Control, nonsmokers exposed to secondhand smoke at work increase their risk of developing lung cancer by 20-30 percent. Even brief exposure to secondhand smoke can cause breathing problems and asthma attacks, and may have immediate adverse effects on the heart and blood vessels, which could cause a heart attack.

Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Represent Casino Workers Harmed by Dangerous Working Conditions

If you believe that your job is making you sick, call the experienced Baltimore Workers’ Compensation lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton. Our qualified attorneys will review your case for free to determine if you might be eligible to receive Workers’ Compensation to help pay for the high costs associated with your illness. To schedule a consultation, call 844-556-4LAW (4529) today or submit an online contact form.