Smoking bans often exempt casinos, exposing occupants to fine particles (PM(2.5)) from secondhand smoke. We quantified the relative contributions to PM(2.5) from both secondhand smoke and infiltrating outdoor sources in US casinos. We measured real-time PM(2.5), particulate polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PPAH), and carbon dioxide (CO(2)) (as an index of ventilation rate) inside and outside 8 casinos in Reno, Nevada. We combined these data with data from previous studies, yielding a total of 66 US casinos with smoking in California, Delaware, Nevada, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, developing PM(2.5) frequency distributions, with 3 nonsmoking casinos for comparison. Geometric means for PM(2.5) were 53.8 μg/m(3) (range 18.5-205 μg/m(3)) inside smoking casinos, 4.3 μg/m(3) (range 0.26-29.7 μg/m(3)) outside those casinos, and 3.1 μg/m(3) (range 0.6-9 μg/m(3)) inside 3 nonsmoking casinos. In a subset of 21 Reno and Las Vegas smoking casinos, PM(2.5) in gaming areas averaged 45.2 μg/m(3) (95% CI, 37.7-52.7 μg/m(3)); adjacent nonsmoking casino restaurants averaged 27.2 μg/m(3) (95% CI, 17.5-36.9 μg/m(3)), while PM(2.5) outside the casinos averaged 3.9 μg/m(3) (95% CI, 2.5-5.3 μg/m(3)). For a subset of 10 Nevada and Pennsylvania smoking casinos, incremental (indoor-outdoor) PM(2.5) was correlated with incremental PPAH (R(2)=0.79), with ventilation rate-adjusted smoker density (R(2)=0.73), and with smoker density (R(2)=0.60), but not with ventilation rates (R(2)=0.15). PPAH levels in 8 smoking casinos in 3 states averaged 4 times outdoors. The nonsmoking casinos' PM(2.5) (n=3) did not differ from outdoor levels, nor did their PPAH (n=2). Incremental PM(2.5) from secondhand smoke in approximately half the smoking casinos exceeded a level known to produce cardiovascular morbidity in nonsmokers after less than 2h of exposure, posing acute health risks to patrons and workers. Casino ventilation and air cleaning practices failed to control secondhand smoke PM(2.5). Drifting PM(2.5) from secondhand smoke contaminated unseparated nonsmoking areas. Smoke-free casinos reduced PM(2.5) to the same low levels found outdoors.
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