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Thank you, (Mesquite, NV) City Council members, for this opportunity to address you tonight. My name is Tom Hancock and I’m a volunteer with the Mesquite Citizens for Clean Indoor Air.
Recently, we’ve provided information about health problems caused and made worse by exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke. These risks include death from lung cancer and heart disease.
Another problem made worse by secondhand smoke is asthma.
Both adults and children have this condition. When something triggers an asthma attack, such as allergens or tobacco smoke, the airways constrict and it’s hard to breathe.
A bad asthma attack can land you in the hospital. Hundreds of Americans die from asthma attacks each year.
According to the CDC, one in 10 children in the U.S. has asthma, and one in 12 adults has it.
The high number of children with asthma concerns me, because I know that many families with children visit our local casinos. In Nevada, a majority of our social activities occur in these businesses, even if we’re not gambling.
Here in Mesquite, we have all sorts of family amenities in our casinos, including restaurants, arcades and even a bowling alley. We may call some of these facilities “non smoking”, but if they are located in the same building as a casino that allows smoking, there is still exposure to secondhand smoke and they cannot be considered smokefree.
Smoke travels through a building’s hallways and ventilation system. The only way to eliminate it from inside a building is to make the entire facility smokefree.
We know that smokefree policies have resulted in fewer heart attacks. Now we know the same is true for asthma attacks.
Recent studies in Scotland show that hospital visits by children due to asthma attacks fell 13 percent one year after smoking was banned from indoor public spaces, including bars and restaurants.
We can protect our workers, we can protect our citizens and visitors, and we can protect our kids by making our indoor public spaces smokefree. Going to a restaurant or arcade shouldn’t put a child’s health at risk.
Going smokefree is the right thing to do. And we know you have the ability and responsibility to enact measures that protect our residents from these health effects. We encourage you to act now.