Customer satisfaction seems to be the primary goal of manyMidwest casino owners, as they make plans to clean up the smoke intheir facilities. With the on-going debate on whether smokingshould be banned in public places throughout the world, Midwestcasino owners have begun to rely on high-tech air handling systemsthat are comparable to those used in many hospitals to please alltheir customers.
“It’s something you have to do to service yourguests,” said Bill Renk, the vice president of sales and marketingat Jumers Casino Rock Island in Illinois. “We fully intend to putin the type of system that will make the smoke nearlyunnoticeable.”
According to Damon Butler of the Isle of Capriand Davenport’s Rhythm City Casino, the new ventilation system,called a bio-zone induct unit uses a photo-plasma to pull themicroscopic pieces of smoke, mold and bacteria together so they arelarge enough to be trapped in the filter. The air is alsocirculated throughout the facility and the outside air is broughtin every hour to help flush out the smoke. Even though the newsystem is presently at a costly $500,000, many people includingstudent Courtney Battle feel it is well worth it. “I believe thatif every establishment did invest in this system, companies wouldhave a lot more customers,” says Battle.
Though the system will help in the customers’satisfaction of a “smoke-free” experience, the Americans forNonsmokers’ Rights, a national advocacy group says that this newair purification system will not eliminate or protect customersfrom the dangers of secondhand smoke. According to smoke-free.org,only 15 percent of smoke from a cigarette is inhaled by the smoker.The other 85 percent goes directly into the air and is then knownas “secondhand smoke.”
Presently in many of the Midwestern statessuch as Illinois, Michigan and Ohio, smoking is restricted in someareas such as government buildings and restaurants and bars.Smoking is not prohibited in any of these states but more so in theeastern states of New York and Connecticut. Because smoking isrestricted in some areas of the Midwest, the new ventilationsystems are not required by legislation but are merely chosen byfacility owners.
Many non-smokers say the poor air-quality inrestaurants, bars and casinos can make them very uncomfortable.
“I most certainly can tell the difference whenhanging in places that are smoke-free versus those that aren’t.It’s just a hassle being around all that smoke when you yourself donot indulge in it and it can damper a social experience,” saysstudent D’Andre Allen of Howard University.