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Cabell County Board Chooses Health Over Gambling Revenue

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The Cabell County Board of Health in West Virginia made a choice this week that many counties and states have not had the guts to make in recent years. The Board passed a smoking ban for the county that included gambling establishments.

In most areas of the country, gambling parlors and casinos are exempt from smoking laws. While the logic does not add up for those who do not want to be affected by second-hand smoke, the dollars do.

Many states derive millions of dollars from taxes on their gaming industries, and it is widely speculated that smoking bans decrease the number of customers at these gambling locations. In Cabell County, however, board members chose health over gambling revenue.

While opponents of the ban immediately suggested that jobs would be lost and businesses would have to close, that notion was disputed by those who have done the research on the subject.

"I don't think it (smoking ban) will have a negative effect on the City of Huntington budget," said Councilman Steve Williams to the Huntington News, "History shows from elsewhere, this is not necessarily the case."

Over the past several years, there have been many health officials who have been creating smoking bans in public places. The bans have been met with optimism from workers who no longer have to inhale second-hand smoke, but cynicism from business owners concerned that the ban will hurt their bottom line revenue figures.

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