Air Quality in Lexington Bingo Halls Unsafe
Media Contact: Ann Blackford, 859-323-6363, x230
LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 10, 2008) - A study released today from the University of Kentucky College of Nursing and UK College of Public Health shows the air quality of Lexington bingo halls to be unsafe due to secondhand smoke. In fact, the level of indoor air pollution in Lexington bingo halls is 6.8 times higher than the National Ambient Air Quality Standard for outdoor air. The level of indoor air pollution levels in the bingo halls was 13 times higher than in hospitality venues in Lexington and approximately 5.5 times higher than Georgetown's bingo hall after smoke-free laws took effect.
Indoor air quality was assessed in five bingo halls in Lexington. Fine particulates were measured from February 15 to February 22, 2008 using a monitor to record the levels of respirable suspended particulates in the air. The Georgetown bingo hall was visited on September 16, 2005 before the smoke-free law took effect and January 28, 2006 during the post-law period.
On April 27, 2004, Lexington-Fayette County Urban Government implemented a smoke-free ordinance prohibiting smoking in all buildings open to the public including bingo parlors. A series of legal challenges over a three-year period debated whether Lexington's bingo halls and the high school booster clubs that operate bingo were eligible for the private clubs exemption of Lexington's law. The most recent ruling came on January 18, 2008, when Fayette Circuit Judge James Ishmael affirmed a 2005 District Court ruling that found that booster clubs qualify as private organizations under the Lexington-Fayette County smoke-free ordinance. Private organizations are exempt from Lexington's smoke-free ordinance.
According to the 2006 U.S. Surgeon General's Report, secondhand smoke (SHS) contains at least 250 chemicals that are known to be toxic. There is no safe level of exposure to SHS. SHS exposure is the third leading cause of preventable death in the United States. SHS is a mixture of the smoke from the burning end of tobacco products and the smoke exhaled by smokers and is known to cause cancer in humans. SHS exposure is a cause of heart disease and lung cancer in nonsmoking adults. An estimated 3,000 nonsmokers die from lung cancer annually and over 46,000 nonsmokers die from heart disease every year in the U.S. due to secondhand smoke exposure. It is estimated that approximately 60 percent of people in the United States have biological evidence of SHS exposure.
Currently in Kentucky 19 communities have enacted, and 16 communities have implemented, smoke-free laws or regulations. The most comprehensive ordinances/regulations, which include smoke-free workplace and smoke-free enclosed public place laws (including bingo halls), have been implemented in Georgetown, Morehead, Ashland, Elizabethtown, Hardin County (unincorporated areas), Madison County (board of health regulation) and Louisville. The next most comprehensive ordinances, which include smoke-free enclosed public place laws, have been implemented in Lexington, Letcher County, Frankfort and Paducah. Five communities have implemented partial smoke-free laws, protecting workers and patrons in some public venues: Daviess County, Henderson, Oldham County, Paintsville and Pikeville. Only Daviess County, the city of Henderson, Pikeville and Paintsville's smoke-free ordinances contain specific language that exempts bingo parlors.