Home Uncategorized A Tip of the Hat to an Advocate for Smoke-Free Casinos

A Tip of the Hat to an Advocate for Smoke-Free Casinos


Several years ago at the Hospitality Design Expo and Conference there was a session at which several people—at least one from MGM Resorts International—discussed what was then the future opening of the mammoth City Center project in Las Vegas. At that session, Stephanie Steinberg, chairwoman of Englewood, Colo.-based Smoke-Free Gaming stood up and asked the person from MGM how their LEED-pursuing CityCenter project could possibly include a casino (the casino portion of Aria Resort & Casino) that would permit smoking. I don’t recall the specific words of the MGM executive but I recall that Stephanie’s question was not sufficiently answered. CityCenter went on to earn six LEED Gold certifications and smoking is still indeed allowed at the Aria casino, even though MGM does try to minimize second-hand smoke exposure through ventilation techniques (Steinberg would call it “voodoo ventilation.”)

I spoke with Stephanie this past week for a Green Lodging News profile (see article). I strongly encourage you to read the article and check out the website for Smoke-Free Gaming. You may not agree with what Stephanie says but we can all agree that she is one of the most passionate people in our industry when it comes to casino worker rights. Stephanie’s nonprofit has strongly influenced the outcome of legislation—especially in Colorado where casinos have been smoke free for several years now.

Some of the stories Stephanie told me are touching—about casino workers suffering from asthma, different types of cancers and other maladies as a result of being exposed to second-hand smoke for long periods of time. She told me about one casino worker who wore a pin on her shirt to work one day. When she took it off at the end of her shift, there was an outline of the pin on her shirt from the smoke residue.

I often hear from casino companies in regard to their green efforts and I can only applaud them for those accomplishments. What boggles my mind, however, is how those same companies—so skilled at telling their green stories—can spend what Stephanie says is millions of dollars fighting efforts (by organizations like Smoke-Free Gaming) to eliminate casino smoking. “The gaming industry has been historically tied to the tobacco industry for years,” Stephanie says.

Hopefully, some day all casinos will be smoke free—we are certainly heading in that direction. Until that day comes, you can bet Stephanie Steinberg will be traveling the country and organizing efforts to clear the air for employees and patrons alike. Our industry could use a few more strong men and women like her.

Who is Your Environmental Champion?

In our Personnel Profile section we frequently profile individuals who lead sustainability efforts at either the corporate or property level. (Click here for examples.) We are always looking for new people to profile. Do you have someone in mind for our Personnel Profile section? Be sure to contact Glenn Hasek, publisher and editor of Green Lodging News, at (440) 243-2055, or by e-mail at editor@greenlodgingnews.com.   

Looking for Guest Columnists

Every two weeks Green Lodging News posts a new guest column on its website. (Click here for examples.) The guest column also appears in the weekly e-newsletter. Green Lodging News is currently in need of industry experts to contribute occasional guest columns. Experts may include consultants, architects, designers, suppliers and those who own or operate green lodging establishments. Columns may be articles that take a stance on a particular subject or be strictly educational in nature. Columnists benefit by having their photo included along with a one paragraph description of their company. Interested in writing a column? Contact Glenn Hasek, publisher and editor, at (440) 243-2055, or by e-mail at editor@greenlodgingnews.com.

Advertising Opportunities

Green Lodging News is accepting reservations for advertising spots. Several new slots have opened up on the Green Lodging News website—including the bottom banner ad spot (ad seen at the end of every article) and the Featured Product ad spot in the weekly newsletter. Be sure to contact me as soon as possible at (440) 243-2055, or by e-mail at editor@greenlodgingnews.com if you are interested in these ad spots. There are also Green Supplier Spotlight dates available for 2012, and other spots on the website and in the weekly e-newsletter. The 2011 media kit is available by request or by clicking here. Thank you to all of those companies that consistently support Green Lodging News.

Green Lodging News Blog, Twitter & Facebook

Be sure to bookmark the Green Lodging News Blog in your browser. More importantly, participate with your comments. Green Lodging News is also now on Twitter and Facebook. To follow my Twitter postings, go to http://twitter.com/greenlodging. Be sure to add Green Lodging News to those tweets that you follow. Also be sure to “Like” us on Facebook. Green Lodging News now has 942 Twitter and 119 Facebook followers.

As always, I can be reached at editor@greenlodgingnews.com.