Objectives: To determine the percentage of gamblers who smoke while gambling at three of Nevada's major gambling destinations, Las Vegas, Reno/Sparks and Lake Tahoe.
Methods: Teams of 2 people counted the number of smokers and total number of gamblers at various Nevada Casinos. The total number of gamblers observed smoking was then multiplied by three to determine the total number of smokers. This methodology for determining the number of smokers in a room was established by Repace and Lowry in 1980.
Results: We observed a total of 14,052 gamblers at the three sites of which a total of 947 were smoking. We estimated the percentage of smokers at three gaming tourist centers in Nevada (Las Vegas, Reno/Sparks, and Lake Tahoe). The percentage of smokers at Las Vegas (20.3% ± 95% CI 0.9) and Reno/Sparks (21.5% ± 95% CI 1.2) did not significantly differ from the U.S. population percentage of smokers (20.9 ± 95% CI 0.6)(p >0.05). However, at Lake Tahoe the percentage of smokers (16.4% ± 95% CI 1.8) was significantly lower than the published U.S. population smoker percentage (p<.0.0001). Mean percentage of smokers by location did not significantly differ (p=0.43)
Conclusions: The results of this study suggest that the percentage of gamblers who smoke was less than or not different than the overall U.S. percentage of a population who smoke. These findings provide additional evidence to refute the exemption to smoking bans for casinos based upon the supposition that a greater percentage of casino customers are smokers than the general population and therefore a smoking ban for casinos may result in an economic hardship.