Will COVID-19 create smoke-free casinos?
Indian Country Today
Clinton Isham is an independent consultant working on an initiative to turn tribally-owned and operated casinos smoke-free. He is from the Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewas Indians in Wisconsin.
"Before the pandemic, there were around seven tribally-owned casinos across different parts of the United States that were one hundred percent smoke-free."
"After the pandemic, and once these casinos were closed, I think the manager's starting to think about how to reopen in the best possible way with keeping in mind people's health or employee's health."
"There have been some casinos in Washington state right now that have went 100 percent smoke-free."
"These videos include different interviews from the people that have sent in clips requesting tribal leaders to go smoke-free."
"One casino called Angel of the Winds in Washington, within a couple of hours, there was like over a thousand comments from their patrons. All of them were overwhelmingly supportive of this casino going smoke-free. So it definitely looks like it's what the people want, what the patrons want, from these casinos in their areas."
"There's a study out there called Gambling With Our Health that was published several years ago. What this study said was that, if casinos were to go smoke-free, the higher tier club members, people in the higher socioeconomic status that have club cards at the casinos, would sit on any given machine for a longer period of time if these machines, if the environment was smoke-free."
"The CDC does a number of different studies with people across the United States every year. They ask a number of questions. Sometimes the questions are on smoking rates."
"Ever since the data was starting to be taken, around in the 1960s, the adult smoking rate has went down significantly."
"There was several surgeon general reports that came out and they're the ones that have explicitly said that there is no level of safe exposure to secondhand smoke."
"We organized with all the people involved with the powwow. We created talking points and why it was important for people not to smoke at the powwow."
"The main thing was we just didn't want kids to see that this is the normal thing that commercial tobacco is our tobacco. We didn't want them to learn that."
"During like the third powwow that we had, I was walking downstairs and there was an elderly woman smoking a cigarette and I was scared, you know, I was scared to tell her like, 'Hey, you gotta put that out.'"
"But I asked her very nicely, and I told her the reasons why we're doing this. And I said, 'We just don't want our kids to grow up thinking that this is their tobacco to use, it's not". And she put out the cigarette and she said, 'Thank you so much for doing this. I've been waiting for many years for something like this to happen here. I'm very happy it's happening now.'"
"I just want to reaffirm that these types of things are possible."
"I think the main thing with tobacco control on tribal communities and what we were trying to point out again is that we just don't want our kids to see that this is normal for them growing up."
"Commercial tobacco is not our tobacco. There's another whole other side of tobacco which is traditional spiritual tobacco."
"I just want to point out that providing smoke-free spaces is one of the healthiest things a casino can do."
Here are links to resources Isham mentioned during the broadcast:
Also on the daily newscast, Washington Editor Jourdan Bennett-Begaye reports updated COVID-19 numbers in Indian Country.
The anchor and executive producer of the program is Patty Talahongva.