Casinos without the smoke? Mesquite citizen group aims to ban smoking in public places

Stock image shows a woman smoking inside a casino. A city ordinance proposed by a group of citizens in Mesquite, Nevada, could ban smoking in all public places, like casinos, where smoking has traditionally been allowed | Photo by Rawpixel/iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A group of citizens in Mesquite, Nevada, is trying to ban smoking in public places like casinos, bars, tobacco stores, bus stops and outdoor playgrounds.

A casino in Mesquite, Nevada, where a proposed city ordinance could ban smoking in all public places, like casinos, where smoking has traditionally been allowed, June 30, 2015 | Photo by Ericbvd/iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

Citing reasons like the danger of secondhand smoke, the group of citizens with the Mesquite Clean Indoor Air Initiative Petition Committee is seeking to get an ordinance passed through the city of Mesquite to ban smoking in public places. The city is currently receiving comments from members of the public and businesses to determine the financial impact on the local government if such an ordinance were passed.

“Based upon the science and related research on the health and economic benefits of a comprehensive clean indoor air policy, it is not acceptable to us and the majority of the Mesquite community not to address this serious public health problem,” reads a letter by the petition committee sent to the Mesquite City Council. “We know that most voters in Mesquite support clean indoor air. They demand action.”

As it stands now, visitors to casinos across Nevada can expect to find clouds of tobacco smoke lingering in the air of most gaming rooms. Smoking is currently banned in most public places in Nevada except for casinos, strip clubs, bars, brothels and tobacco stores.

Out of about 10 state-mandated steps required for getting an ordinance passed in Mesquite, “we are on No. 2 right now,” said Aaron Baker, assistant to the Mesquite City Manager.

“The question we’re trying to answer right now is if this will impact city coffers or not,” Baker said.

The next step will involve the people championing the ordinance to formally collect names on a petition. The petition will have to be signed by at least 15 percent of the voters who voted in the last city election, which amounts to 1,210 Mesquite citizens. If the citizens proposing the initiative are successful in getting their proposal through all the necessary steps, it will placed on the ballot in the November 2018 election for voters in Mesquite to have the final say.

In addition to the Mesquite city website where people can submit comments about the proposed ordinance, there will be a City Council meeting June 13 where members of the public and local businesses will be invited to address the City Council.

Mesquite City Hall file photo, Mesquite, Nevada, circa 2007 | Photo by Stan Shebs, St. George News

The city of Mesquite has already received many comments about the proposed smoking ban from members of the public, Baker said, but it hasn’t received many comments from businesses that such a ban would affect.

“There has been a fair amount of general comments on both sides of the argument, saying ‘Yes, I’m strongly in favor of this,’ or ‘No, I’m strongly opposed to this,'” Baker said. “I haven’t seen a lot of financial impact comments yet. We tried to reach out to specific businesses who would be directly impacted by this, like casinos or places that sell tobacco products, about what this would do to their business and in turn what this would do for the taxes and fees they pay to the city of Mesquite.”

Comments about the financial impact can be sent to the city at the Mesquite City website.

According to the letter sent to the City Council by the petition committee, smoking tobacco is not a right people have in public places.

The smoking of tobacco is a form of air pollution, a positive danger to health, and a material public nuisance,” the letter reads.

In addition to banning smoking in public places like casinos and bus stops, the proposed smoking ban would also affect “enclosed areas of places of employment,” like employee break rooms, private offices, company vehicles and hallways. It would also prohibit smoking within 25 feet of entrances or windows of businesses and public places, which would apply to outdoor playgrounds, shopping malls, stadiums or common areas of apartment complexes and trailer parks.

Under the proposed ordinance, there could also be hefty fines for violators. Fines won’t exceed $100 for the first violation, $250 for the second violation and $1,000 for each additional violation after the second one. Businesses that don’t adhere to the ordinance would also have their permits or licenses suspended or revoked.

Many states already have laws prohibiting smoking in all public places. For instance, in Utah, smoking is banned in all public places under the Utah Indoor Clean Air Act.

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11 Comments

  • ladybugavenger June 1, 2018 at 2:44 pm

    Oh dear! Talk about something that is bad for business, this is a bad approach. Casinos without smoking? Oh no! Maybe a non smoking section, but not a complete non smoking casino. Awful idea.

    • LunchboxHero June 1, 2018 at 3:13 pm

      Yeah, I personally hate the smell, but I have to think that the casinos will take a huge hit.

    • comments June 1, 2018 at 7:45 pm

      you’re right, the impulsive personalities of gamblers usually go hand in hand with them being smokers. The casinos in mesquite are nasty. The air filtration doesn’t work that well. I’d say let the smokers have their casinos.

    • Striker4 June 2, 2018 at 9:30 am

      You have no idea what your talking about lba have you been to Vegas lately ? both no smoking casinos are doing very well and business has increased for both casinos

      • ladybugavenger June 2, 2018 at 1:38 pm

        No, have not been there in 2 years. Well, they do have many, many casinos to choose from. I suppose it wouldn’t make a difference. However, if every casino was non smoking it might deter some the tourists.

  • utahdiablo June 1, 2018 at 8:34 pm

    It’s more than past Damn time this happened, with all the damn Cancer everywhere, this needs to be done, too bad if the few with their oxygen in tow have to give up smoking next to me or mine when we’re trying to have dinner there or staying at the hotels….too damn bad people, you’ve had it your way, the unhealthy way, too darn long

  • mmsandie June 2, 2018 at 8:39 am

    I hate smoke, start coughing, and I and many others have a right to gamble, I,ve lost so many friends from cancer..cigras are the worse.. e cigarettes are just has bad.. when you drive to Vegas to see a big billboard signsaying how many cas8nos are smoke free in Nevada now.. when you gamble and smoke.. you lose twice, money and health..
    Smoking makes gambling areas so messy, people start drinking and when they smoke, they dn,t even use the ash tray, they drop the ashes on the rug or floor, on your foot or purse, the don,t care.. I see fewer people smoking in casinos,mainl6 bar area and table games..
    Hope somebod6 changes that

  • Mike P June 2, 2018 at 11:26 am

    Yeah !! you tell ’em !! The more rights you can take away from citizens, the better off we’ll all be !! I’ve had my damn rights for too damn long!!, and it’s time you take them all away !! Yeah ! Yeah ! you tell em ! P.S. , NO, I don’t smoke but I don’t care if you do.

  • ladybugavenger June 2, 2018 at 1:46 pm

    Our casinos here do have a non smoking area. River Spirit and Hard Rock casinos are both very well ventilated for the non smokers. All rooms are non smoking! Come on down to Tulsa and Catoosa Oklahoma and support our local tribes lol

  • comments June 2, 2018 at 5:31 pm

    smoking is disgusting. vaping is disgusting. i don’t want to breath anyone’s second hand smoke or “vape”. Idiots all of them.

  • DoYourHomework June 3, 2018 at 9:22 am

    I thought being free was living next to someone who does everything you think is wrong and not interfering with them. Dont like it? Instead of blaming the smokers who have every right to smoke there. Blame yourself. Realize your being a hypocrite trying to take away others liberty because its “gross” unhealthy true but commissions allowed it to continue for decades…dont be a destroyer of free will…

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