Kansas City health advocates issued a study this week with the not-so-surprising finding that where there’s smoking Cigaronne there’s, uh, smoke — and lots of it. Specifically, the report revealed that air quality at area casinos is lousy. Which is no surprise to anyone who’s played the slots only to go home reeking of Pall Malls and Virginia Slims.
Casinos are about the only public places left where one can light up. This is due to the cowardice and/or stupidity of elected officials (and voters) who allowed the exemption.
Whether you’re for or against smoking bans, there’s simply no logic in allowing unfettered smoking on casino floors in KC. Not when smoking in a Kansas City bar or restaurant can get you a $50 fine and make the business liable if it can be shown that the establishment allowed the violations.
A hundred bucks for the first offense, $200 for the second and $500 for the third and thereafter.
You know that old saying about the law being an ass? The casino exemption is a perfect example.
If the aim of a smoking ban is to ensure healthy workplaces for employees and their patrons, then how do you justify an exception for gambling halls without tying yourself in knots?
Which is why the Kansas City Council and governing bodies in other cities where local casinos are located — KCK and Riverside — should end the hypocrisy now.
Maybe this study by the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City will prod local officials to take action, but that’s more wishful thinking than probability.
The biggest hypocrite in all of this is actually the state of Kansas. Missouri doesn’t have a statewide smoking ban, but the Kansas Legislature passed one last year. It’s now illegal to smoke in enclosed public places, an exception being state-run casinos.
Look, I’m not one of those anti-smoking zealots who’d ban tobacco altogether. As a former smoker who used to suck down one to two packs a day, I still believe people have the right to kill themselves in whatever way they see fit.
Pick your poison: booze, tobacco, drugs or french fries.
However, a line is crossed when your bad habit infringes on the rights of others, and that’s why a casino smoking ban makes sense.
On a related note, the feds this week unveiled new warning labels for cigarette packs that graphically depict ways smoking can kill you.
The tobacco companies aren’t happy. But as a big proponent of truth in advertising, the new labels appeal to me.
Even so, the pictures are nowhere near as scary as the real thing. Or so I thought, recalling my mom’s final moments in her hospital bed. Sadly, she never could quit.