According to a federal study, the state of Nevada is where the highest secondhand smoke exposure in the entire country is. More than 2/3 of adults in the state are exposed to secondhand smoke.
The state that fell on the second rank has 10% lower rate than the rate obtained in Nevada. Health Policy Research director John Packham of the University of Nevada School of Medicine said that it is bad news for Nevada.
Packham added that there is no question about the risks from secondhand smoke. These risks were even detailed in several US Surgeon General’s report. Secondhand smoke risks have been confirmed by science to be at par with smoking risks. Secondhand smoke endangers people to higher risks of asthma, stroke and heart attack.
The Secondhand Smoke Exposure Survey
Figures from the 2009-2010 National Adult Tobacco Survey from the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion show that there were 67.4% of adult Nevadans who were found to have been exposed to the secondhand smoke during the last 7 days.
The state of Michigan ranked second with 58.8% exposure while Montana was where the least exposure was found at 35.7%.
According to Packham, this might be due to the fact that many adults are exposed to smoke inside their workplaces, particularly in casinos. Nevada Resort Administration did not comment on this in behalf of the industry of gaming in the state.
Philip Morris USA, a renowned maker of cigarettes in the US stated that the public must follow whatever recommendations were given to them by the public health officials. On the company website, it is written that particular care must be practiced where there are children concerned. Adults must not smoke around children.
The statement of the company also mentioned that Philip Morris believe in the public health officials’ conclusions that environmental tobacco smoke warrant measures for regulating public cigarette smoking.
Where cigarette smoking is allowed, there should be warning notices posted that secondhand smoke could also cause perils in non-smokers.
Washoe County Smokers
In order to emphasize and support the claim that public smoking ban is beneficial, Packham mentioned about a study published in the Circulation journal of the American Heart Association.
It is focused in Gilpin County in Colorado where there are 26 casinos. When public smoking was banned in Colorado back in 2006, the number of ambulance calls for these places have decreased 22.8%. Casinos were not covered by the smoking ban so the ambulance calls remained roughly unchanged.
In 2008, smoking in casinos was banned and ambulance calls to casinos dropped 19.1% and ambulance calls to other places also remained the same. Packham said that this study is very crucial for Nevada.
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Nevada Clean Indoor Air Act
Voters approved this in 2006. Smoking is currently not allowed in any indoor spaces, but Washoe District Health Department noted of the exemptions. Not covered by this law are casino areas where children are prohibited; salons and taverns not serving food; stand-alone bars; brothels and strip clubs; retail tobacco stores; private residences not used as child/health care establishments, motel and hotel rooms allowed by the operators.
According to the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System data, there were about 21.2% of adults who smoke and Nevada is just a bit higher at 22.9%. Division of Public and Behavioral Health estimated that there are 19.8% of adults in Washoe County that are smokers.
In Nevada, the lowest rate was in the Storey County at 7.4% while the highest was in the Pershing County where 4 of 10 adults smoked between 2011 and 2012. Packham said that there could be some demographic factors explaining the high smoking rate in Pershing. The rural populations are likely to be older, he said. People’s financial status and educational attainments might be factors making them smoke. He added that those with more education seem to smoke less.
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