Five years of research led by a University of Nevada, Reno department head in Reno and Las Vegas casinos conclude
there is a direct correlation between exposure to secondhand smoke
in the workplace and damage to the employees' D-N-A.
Funded by a two and one-half (m) million dollar grant from the
National Institutes of Health, the clinical trial followed 125
employees who work on the gambling floors of casinos in both
northern and southern Nevada.
The subjects of the study were nonsmokers who were not exposed
to secondhand smoke in their households.
Chris Pritsos is chairman of the nutrition department at U-N-R.
He says the more the subjects were exposed to environmental
tobacco smoke, the more the D-N-A damage. And Pritsos says that's
going to lead to a higher risk of heart disease and cancer down the
road. American Gaming Association president and C-E-O Frank
Fahrenkopf says the smoking issue is a balancing act for casinos.
As he puts it, "We realize we have customers who want to smoke,
and that's a fact of life. Our Number One priority is the health
and welfare of both our customers and our employees, and secondhand
smoke poses a real issue for us."