Research has shown that health risks are higher in a casino because tobacco smoke residues linger even after smoking is banned for six months.
“Over the years of smoking, layers of smoke residue stick to surfaces and penetrate deep into materials. If you work at a casino that allows smoking or are a guest, you already know you inhale secondhand smoke every time you breathe,” said lead researcher Georg Matt, from the San Diego State University.
In the study, the researchers studied a casino outside Redding, California. The establishment opened in 1993 and banned smoking in 2014, but rescinded the policy after just 11 months.
The researchers took surface samples in eight areas within the casino and analyzed the samples using chromatography mass spectometry, looking for chemical signatures associated with tobacco byproducts and signs of exposure.
Chemical residues include nicotine, cotinine and NNK, a lung carcinogen.
The researchers took to account that though casinos have a higher number of smokers, they tend to have industry-strength ventilation systems.
“The casino was much more polluted with third-hand smoke than an nonsmoker home we have examined to date. That is, non-smokers are at risk of being exposed to higher concentration of third-hand smoke in a casino that they would in a third-hand smoke-polluted home,” said researcher Matt.
Further, the study found that size of the place and the kind of ventilation system did not matter. The residue remained on surfaces even if six months had passed.
Only by intensive cleaning and furniture replacement such as carpets, wallpaper, drywall, drapery and ceilings can they make the casinos safe and be rid of tobacco residue.
The researchers warned that the longer tobacco is smoked inside, the more difficult it would be to rid the place of residue.
A nonsmoker is exposed more to third hand smoking in a casino than a non-smoker who lives in a house previously owned by a smoker.
“The sooner you stop smoking indoors, the sooner you will benefit from clean air and the less it will cost to clean up the toxic legacy,” emphasized researcher Matt. MIMS