A New Proposal Calls for an Indoor Smoking Ban at Navajo Casinos

In light of the ongoing pandemic across the US, smoke-free casino floors have been a hot topic. While anti-smoking organizations have urged casinos to ban smoking for decades, now, it seems that they may finally have a chance to achieve that. With that in mind, a new proposal calls for a ban on smoking within workplaces and public areas on Navajo Nation land.

Smoke-Free Casino Floors Remains a Hot Topic

Due to the pandemic, many venues have temporarily banned smoking within the casino floors or established specific areas for the activity. On the other hand, smoke-free organizations have advocated the ban to remain permanent.

Undoubtedly, banning smoking from casino floors remains a controversial topic. This is because many operators, both tribal and commercial, fear that a ban on smoking may result in a decrease in revenue. Those fears are further fueled by the impact of the pandemic last year that slashed the revenues for casinos all around the US.

Navajo Nation Considers Permanent Smoke Ban in Arizona, New Mexico

Efforts to ban smoking within Navajo Nation casinos in New Mexico and Arizona date back more than a decade. While previous efforts have failed, now, it seems that the topic is once again being reviewed. A new proposal was pushed forward in light of the start of the legislative session of the Navajo Nation Council this past Monday.

The proposal, dubbed Air is Life Act 2021, calls for a ban on indoor smoking. The prohibition would apply to all workplaces and businesses located on Navajo Nation land. Moreover, the bill calls for the prohibition of tobacco product use within those premises, as well. Under the new proposal, smoking or tobacco products will be allowed only within areas that are specifically created for that reason. Those areas must be at least 25 feet from workplaces or other public buildings.

An exception within the new proposal is in terms of tobacco use for ceremonial purposes. However, even that activity, under the Air is Life Act must be done within specifically designated facilities. On the other hand, the proposal does not restrict smoking or the use of tobacco within private homes located on Navajo Nation land. 

If accepted, the new ban will affect a total of four Navajo Nation gambling venues within Arizona and New Mexico. Currently, a temporary ban on smoking is in effect, but if a majority of the Council approves the new proposal, the venues may become smoke-free permanently.

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