This Labor Day weekend thousands of people are sure to enjoy one of Iowa’s casinos. But what they’re likely unaware of is the amount of dangerous chemicals they’re taking home along with their winnings.

Casinos like to claim they have “state-of-the-art” ventilation systems; however, there is no safe or effective ventilation that removes the toxins from cigarette smoke. Even the trade industry responsible for representing companies that make ventilation systems claims they’re not a substitute for smoke-free air.

Yet those who deal cards or serve drinks in our gambling establishments also have to deal with inhaling 50 times more cancer-causing chemicals in their workplace than if they just stood on the side of a traffic-clogged highway and inhaled deeply.

No one should have to face increased odds of getting sick and dying from someone else’s choice to smoke. Secondhand smoke was removed from all other public places years ago. It’s time to do the same in Iowa casinos.

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This coming legislative session, let’s change the odds and get the smoke out so next Labor Day we can all breathe a lot easier.

Kristine F. Oswald