From the Mayor-On the smoking ban and psychological effects of being unemployed

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Nowadays having a job is very important if you wish to live a comfortable life.  Almost everyone dreams of having a successful career, but often due to unavoidable circumstances, people find themselves unemployed.  I said unavoidable; a ban on smoking as being proposed is avoidable.  We live in a very small city.  Our employment opportunities are very limited.  Every job lost within our workforce is magnified by our small size.  The proposed smoking ban brought forward by a small, but well-funded group of zealots will bring chaos in our city, not only economically, but also psychologically.  By the way, who is funding this movement?  Let me explain.  People without money are very helpless and dissatisfied, especially in a society that values money.  That’s us folks.

Believe it or not, unemployment is something that really affects a person’s mental frame of mind.  Just look back to our past recessions or the Great Depression.  Of course there is a small percentage of those who don’t care, don’t work or want to, and live very differently than most of us.  I’m not concerned about them.  They live off of others.  The majority of our citizens don’t. Look at the statistics our government puts out about suicide, crime, divorce rate, physical health issues, all related to unemployment.

Unemployment is bad for your health.  It’s proven with irrefutable statistics.  In fact, far worse than second hand smoke, which may not be good for you, but as I said in my last article, is not proven to cause health problems, only suspected with very limited studies done.  Show me the autopsies that give second hand smoke as the cause of death.  Show me the medical records of anyone where the doctor can prove someone has heart trouble, a stroke, or cancer as a direct result of second hand smoke.   Heart attack, stroke, cancer are health problems that can come from overall life style, heredity, diet, stress, or any combination of these.  Ask ten doctors and you could get a number of opinions. Even Radon, a deadly gas, is linked to an increase in health problems.

Agent Orange is linked to many health issues; I personally know, but absolutely?  The jury is still out in many cases.

It is, however, proven by major studies in psychology, that unemployment causes the following:  Unemployment makes a person very sad.  Depression is a mental illness, which may come with unemployment.  You become irritable for no apparent reason.  Jealously may set in.  Many start indulging in less and less mental activity.  You begin to feel alone and isolated.  You often feel utterly useless and worthless.  Your mind is likely to be very restless, you may be driven to a feeling of desperation.  Anger is something, which you are bound to face.  Your mindset often becomes pessimistic and negative.  I know those of you that favor the smoking ban and have never had to go through unemployment for an extended period of time will refute this.  Those of you, whether you favor the ban or not, that were unemployed for an extended period time will fully understand where I’m coming from.  Statistics, of course, can be manipulated, but I’m not giving you opinion, I’m giving you proven facts as studied by a number of psychological studies, conducted with large populations over an extended period of time.  Studies, conducted, without an agenda.

For many who will lose their jobs as a result of a casino smoking ban, their only choice will be to file for unemployment.  It is a proven fact that the majority employed do not have the financial resources to sustain themselves more than several weeks at best.  Rent has to be paid, utilities need to be paid, food has to be placed on the table, and gas is necessary to go out and look for another job; that is, if another job is even available in Mesquite. It becomes much more difficult for the unemployed as their resources will be gone, virtually, as soon as their employment ends.

The clean air people feel that they are doing the right thing for Mesquite.  That’s very commendable.  I’m afraid they will cause more harm than good with their cause.

The total economic picture is even bleaker for Mesquite.  Losses could be in the millions, with less tax revenue, far less spending by the unemployed, as unemployment checks are far less than wages.  Of course, those part-time workers and those living here less than a year may not see any benefits.  I think most of you can see the financial damage the smoking ban could cause:  People out of work, or with reduced hours moving away from Mesquite, less revenue for the theaters, eating establishments, hotels, paid events, and the list goes on.  Sure, there is always a possibility that everything would return to normal someday.  Mesquite can’t afford to wait for that day.  By the way, would the last person leaving Mesquite please turn off the lights?




  1. Harold White says:

    Mr Mayor, it seems you believe the petition will become an initiative on the November ballot, or you wouldn’t be kicking and screaming! The petition is simply asking to give the people a voice, which you are obviously attempting to swamp before it gets off the ground. Very sad.

    • Al Litman says:

      Speak with the city attorney about this. As I understand it, the ordinance as proposed would become law in November. Have you read the ordinance?

    • Cindy Banks says:

      No the petition is not asking for a choice, it is demanding no smoking. I quit in 2011, but I would never ask any business to change their practices for my comfort. I owned in restaurant in California, they brought the no smoking act in and we lost thirty -five percent of our customers. We had an air system, that had totally separate air for the smokin and non-smoking area. Our servers could chose the area they wished to work. There was no smoking in the prep and cooking areas. That wasn’t good enough. Until these well meaning folks realize it is not their money invested in these businesses, employing our neighbors and paying taxes to our community they will continue this self-righteous stupidity. I would bet the majority have no problem killing babies in the womb. So of course they would have no problem killing jobs and businesses.

    • I agree!

  2. Marvin Hance says:

    I worked for 15 + years for a large retail tobacco company as a District Wyoming and Utah. . I have seen many of these ordinances. The biggest problem I have with any of them is when they tell me I can not do something within the confines of my home. By the way I have COPD. The DR. can’t say if the cigarettes caused it because I worked around a lot of chemicals, dust, etc. during my life, including asbestos. By the way, my heart is as strong as a teenager. Had it tested.
    The wording in this leaves little out for a homeowner in such places as Rock Spring 1 and 2 . The units are so close together that I would have to drive somewhere to have a cigarette. I can’t smoke on my porch because it is within 25 feet of the unit across from me. I can’t smoke on the sidewalk because it is within 25 feet of the neighbors. I can’t smoke in the parking lot. The people that live by the swimming pool can’t smoke because it is within 25 feet of the pool and people can bring in guests. Even if they designate smoking areas they would be within the 25 foot limit. I really don’t think these people that are backing this have done their homework. Heart disease, COPD ,etc. are caused by a lot of different things. Just not smoking. I really don’t have any objection as such to banning smoking in certain public places. Restaurants, concerts, public get togethers, etc. I think most places in Mesquite already have their own rules. I respect others and don’t smoke when I am in such places. I think most smokers try to do the same. I went thru this type of situation when living in Wyoming. I can’t really say it hurt the local business that much, if any. They also were locally owned small pubs, restaurants, and such and didn’t rely on customers from other states’. I feel that if you don’t want to be around cigarette smoke, don’t go where they smoke. I know that Mesquite relies a lot on the gaming industry and really don’t know what effect a no smoking ban in the Casinos would have. A lot of these studies they listed have not been verified. Some I am sure are outdated. Some were done by individual people.. I am sure that if the residents of Mesquite wanted a no smoking ordinance it would have been put into effect years ago. Not just because some lady that recently moved here wants it. I read her letter to the editor when she published it. I guess it comes down to the fact that I am tired of other people telling me what I can do in my home.

    • Al Litman says:

      Thank you for reading the proposed ordinance. Of course, I can only speculate on the potential losses the ordinance could bring, but just look at the only casino in the city of New Orleans when a smoking ban was passed. It speaks for itself. A big city can absorb the losses, Mesquite cannot.

  3. Mike Young says:

    If non-smoking is so great why haven’t one of the Casinos gone non-smoking? Because it’s bad for business, just back from Laughlin and they have part of one casino there as non-smoking. It’s easy to get a machine there as most of the people are in the other part of the casino. If these people are so concerned with smoke free environment why not establish a community instead of trying to force their beliefs on the rest of us? P.S. I’ve always been a non-smoker.

  4. Tom Lunday says:

    Thank you Mr. Mayor for your article. I share with you that yesterday as I walked to the Deuces voting location I was stopped by a senior woman who asked me to sign the “Clean Air Initiative”. It was not the Clean Air Initiative but it was the smoking ban. I politely declined her offer, however; I did not enjoy being accosted by a person that lies to my face. The Clean Air Initiative, according to the EPA addresses concerns such as NOx, acid rain and other such issues but not smoking in Mesquite. Again, thank you for your very fine article.

  5. Charles Ratliff says:

    Well said Mr. Mayor, I as a non smoker and as a frequent customer of all business in Mesquite agree with your astute analysis. I salute your leadership on this issue.

  6. Ron Kiima says:

    Mayor. Having only been a resident of Mesquite for a couple years, I cannot tell you how absolutely refreshing it is to have political leadership that truly understands economics and human behavior. I guess there is a first for everything. I salute you and your tiredness efforts on the behalf of the overwhelming majority of citizens (I hope) in Mesquite that see this dangerously radical agenda as an infringement on personal liberty and choice!!!

  7. Arthur W Brenner says:

    Mr. White,

    Your comment seems to be YOUR take on what the mayor is thinking, and YOUR conclusion that the mayor is “. . . obviously attempting to swamp [the initiative] before it gets off the ground.” Have you ever talked to, emailed, texted or otherwise communicated with the mayor to determine specifically what he is thinking or trying to do? I doubt the mayor is “kicking and screaming” about the petition or that he is “attempting to swamp” the initiative.

    MY take on the mayor’s article is that he is presenting his understanding of potential collateral effects if this smoking ban is placed on the ballot and passed. To me, that would seem to be a call for dialogue and discussion.

    Could the initiative be amended or revised to be something other than a broad scope general “prohibition” on smoking? Strict prohibitions such as this haven’t worked well in the past (booze, marijuana, etc) – why should we expect anything different now?

    I would be interested to know if you have credible health, financial/economic, and social studies that 1) can be independently verified and 2) provide a foundation for your support of the initiative. If so, please send your own letter to the editor for the community to discuss and evaluate.


    • David Petrillo says:

      Smoking is bad for your health and the health of anyone close to a smoker. That is proven science. People who have to work in the casinos, since there is not much else going on in Mesquite, deserve to do so without getting cancer. I have been in Mesquite 5 years and have not seen the ecomomuc growth that I have seen in St George or Las Vegas. Maybe it is time to change the direction the city is going.

      • Teri Nehrenz says:

        There are reports out there that would argue your single point that smoking is bad for you. How do you feel about VAPING? The ban would include those of us who vape as well. Cigarette smoke is a major health risk factor which significantly increases the incidence of diseases including lung cancer and respiratory infections. However, there is increasing evidence that smokers have a lower incidence of some inflammatory and neurodegenerative diseases. Nicotine is the main immunosuppressive constituent of cigarette smoke, which inhibits both the innate and adaptive immune responses. Unlike cigarette smoke, nicotine is not yet considered to be a carcinogen and may, in fact, have therapeutic potential as a neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory agent. This review provides a synopsis summarizing the effects of nicotine on the immune system and its (nicotine) influences on various neurological diseases.

        Keywords: nicotine, cigarette smoke, immune system
        Go to:
        Cigarette smoke is the leading cause of preventable diseases worldwide and, in the USA alone, smoking causes approximately 400 000 deaths annually1, 2. Smoking is associated with an increased incidence of acute respiratory infections3, periodontitis4, bacterial meningitis5, rheumatoid arthritis6, Crohn’s disease7, systemic lupus erythematosus8, atherosclerosis9, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases10, lung cancer11 and coronary heart disease12. While increasing data indicate that smoking might decrease the incidence and/or severity of several diseases, including ulcerative colitis13, 14, Parkinson’s disease (PD)15, 16, 17, 18, some forms of Alzheimer’s disease (AD)19, 20, 21, hypersensitivity pneumonitis (HP)22 and type I diabetes23; nicotine also protects the kidneys from renal ischemia/reperfusion injury24.

        A multitude of studies suggest that nicotine, a psychoactive component of tobacco products, acts in a similar fashion as the naturally occurring neurotransmitter, acetylcholine, on nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) found in many organ systems and has profound immunological effects25, 26. During ontogeny, nicotine exposure can modulate T cell and B cell development and activation27. Nicotine exposure also suppresses the T cell response and alters the differentiation, phenotype and functions of antigen-presenting cells (APCs), including dendritic cells28, 29 and macrophages30. Exposure to nicotine and/or related agents appears to dampen inflammatory responses and reduce mortality in a mouse model of sepsis31 and to protect against induction of type 1 diabetes in mice23. In addition, cigarette smoke inhalation produces sustained suppression of humoral autoimmunity in a murine model of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)32. Moreover, several epidemiological studies reveal a strong inverse correlation between smoking and human autoimmune responses manifesting as SLE and ulcerative colitis32, 33. By contrast, other studies suggest that smoking behavior in humans might exacerbate multiple sclerosis (MS) and Crohn’s disease34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39. Our recent results show that nicotine exposure significantly delays and attenuates inflammatory and autoimmune responses to myelin antigens in the mouse experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) model40. These apparently conflicting observations suggest that the impact of nicotine on immune responses in vivo is complex, being potentially influenced by drug dosage and duration of exposure, the specific organ systems involved in the immune response, the stage and type of disease and by the level of involvement of autoimmune and inflammatory mechanisms.

        Go to:
        Nicotine and immunity
        It has long been contemplated that many of the health consequences of chronic cigarette smoking may reflect its adverse effects on the immune system41. Nicotine is a major psychoactive compound in tobacco product. Accumulating evidence suggests that nicotine, a drug that stimulates nicotinic acetylcholine receptors, has profound immunological effects41.

        Nicotine effects on the immune system in vitro There is some evidence that nicotine exposure in vitro can produce changes in immunocytes by reportedly affecting the lyses of target cells42, 43, decreasing PHA-induced proliferation in human peripheral blood lymphocytes44, inducing suppressor cell activity in human T lymphocytes and exhibiting a biphasic effect on the mitogenic responses of peripheral blood lymphocytes45. Aside from its direct effect on peripheral T cells, nicotine also influences T cell development27, 46 and alters the expression of certain surface proteins on T cells47. During the primary immune response, exposure of nicotine to T-cells results in altered IL-2, IL-10, and IFN-γ expression in mice48. Furthermore, nicotine inhibits the IL-12 and IL-18 production of ICAM-1, B7.2 and CD40 on monocytes through the up-regulation of cyclo-oxygenase (COX-2) expression49. Pretreatment with low-dose nicotine causes inhibition of the production of IL-12, IFN-γ, prostaglandin E2, macrophage inflammatory protein (MIP)-1 and TNF-α. In addition, nicotine suppresses the phosphorylation of I-κB thereby inhibiting the transcriptional activity of NF-κB and suppressing HMGB1 release31, 49, 50, 51. These suppressive effects of nicotine occur at the transcriptional level and are mediated through α7nAChR.

        While macrophages initiate many inflammatory and innate immune functions, dendritic cells (DCs) are the principal antigen-presenting cells. In previous years, several reports documented the biological effect of nicotine on DCs and macrophages29, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56. Nicotine has been reported to decrease levels of proinflammatory cytokines and reduce the ability of T-cell priming54, 57, but has also been described to enhance the costimulatory molecular expression in DCs and facilitate T-cell priming53. In a recent study, it has also been reported that nicotine could up-regulate expression of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors, costimulatory molecules (such as CD80, CD86), CD40, CD11b, and chemokine receptor, CCR728, 29. Nicotine could also enhance the endocytotic ability of imDCs in addition to possibly promoting imDC dependent CTL priming and IL-12 secretion in vitro28, 29, 58.

        Nicotine effects on the immune system in vivo Increasing evidence has shown that nicotine exerts its effects on the immune system in vivo. Nicotine affects both humoral and cell-mediated branches of the immune system2, 40, 59, 60, 61 and produces an altered immune response that is characterized by a decrease in inflammation62, a decreased antibody response and a reduction in T cell-receptor-mediated signaling60. These effects probably stem from the direct impact that nicotine acts on T lymphocytes. It has been reported that treatment of T lymphocytes with nicotine provides signals that mimic TCR-mediated cell activation signals, thus leading to partial activation of T cells, resulting in anergy60, 63, 64. Chronic administration of nicotine causes T cell anergy, which are primarily mediated via the activation of the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis65. Nicotine exposure has been associated with the induction of regulatory T cells45. Nicotine also affects B lymphocyte development and controls B lymphocyte survival via nicotinic acetylcholine receptors66, 67, 68, 69.

        Nicotine treatment of a mouse alveolar macrophage cell line (expressing α4 and β2, but not α7 nAChR subunits) results in enhanced intracellular replication of Legionella pneumophilia70. Further, the production of the inflammatory cytokines IL-6, TNF-α, and IL-12 are down-regulated in these cells. In our EAE model, we also observed similar results40. Nicotine-induced inhibition of macrophage function may protect against inflammatory lung processes, such as HP, by decreasing the number of alveolar macrophages in the lungs of experimental animals and decreasing inflammatory cytokine production22. Furthermore, chronic nicotine exposure results in a reduction of lung S-adenosylmethionine (AdoMet), which is required for growth of Pneumocystitis carinii71.

        Go to:
        Spectrum of neurological diseases
        Nicotine and Parkinson’s disease (PD) PD is a debilitating neurodegenerative movement disorder occurring in ∼1% of the population over the age of 55. It is the second most common neurodegenerative disease and is characterized by relatively selective damage to dopaminergic nigrostriatal neurons that leads to motor deficits including tremor, rigidity, bradykinesia and postural instability72, 73. Although the entire pathogenesis of PD is still unclear, both environmental and genetic factors contribute to neurodegeneration.

        Epidemiological studies have shown an association of smoking with a lower occurrence of PD (Table 1). While several studies were conflicting in regard to worsening of motor performance74, 75, 76, 77 and the effects of smoking being dose dependent78, 79, this negative association between smoking and PD is reproducible, dose related and not a result of selective mortality. Although the component in cigarette smoke that confers this apparent neruoprotective action remains to be identified, numerous studies using experimental animal models suggest that nicotine protects against PD through receptor-mediated and non-receptor-mediated pathways as well (Table 2). Nicotine activates the striatal or mesolimbic dopaminergic system80, and protects against glutamate-induced neurotoxicity in striatal, cortical and mesencephalic neurons, as well as nigrostriatal degeneration in MPTP-treated animals18, 81, 82. Nicotine protects against PD by non-receptor-mediated and receptor-mediated pathways. Nicotine could suppress the formation of toxin by directly influencing enzyme activities, such as monoamine oxidases (MAO)83. Nicotine might also modulate the members of the cytochrome P450 (CYP) family84, 85, 86, 87. Furthermore, nicotine could act by modulating mitochondrial complex Ι activity to preserve mitochondrial function and consequently reduce neuronal damage88, 89, 90, or through a direct chemical action as an antioxidant83, 89. Nicotinic effects could be mediated by stimulating different nAChR subtypes, such as α4β2, α7, α6α4β2, α6β2, etc51, 91, 92, 93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99. Numerous signaling pathways are altered in response to nACh receptor activation, including presynaptic pathways involved in control of neurotransmitter release (dopamine, ACh, GABA, and glutamate)100 and postsynaptic pathways involved in apoptosis (phospholipase C, arachidonic acid, reactive oxygen species, neuronal nitric oxide synthase, and cGMP) and necrosis (phospholipase C, protein kinase C, MAPK, ERK, and Bcl2)101, 102, 103, 104, immune modulation (IL-1, IL-6, and TNFα)16, 105 and neurotrophic factor production (brain derived neurotrophic factor, fibroblast growth factor 2)106, 107. Activation of these pathways might subsequently lead to neuroprotection through inhibition of toxin-induced apoptosis, and increased expression of neurotrophic factors, which are crucial for neuronal maintenance, survival and regeneration.

        • David Petrillo says:

          You must be a member of the NSA, the National Smoking Association. Vaping is not allowed on airplanes or in restaurants so I assume is would not be allowed in casinos. As for the massive losses, if 80 out of a 100 gamblers do not smoke, will the other 20 people, many from Utah, drive another 90 minutes just so they can smoke at their machine? The casinos in Mesquite are small so it would only take seconds to walk outside to smoke. In addition, it is common knowledge that non smokers have more disposable income. After all, cigarettes cost a small fortune. Your talk of massive losses is way overblown.

          • Teri Nehrenz says:

            LOL, Is there such an organization? I do smoke but would NEVER encourage others to do so. I’m still on the fence with vaping, there’s not enough history to see the long term effects of inhaling Propylene Glycol to tell and the fact that it’s in our food isn’t helping me embrace it (We have horrible food in the U.S.). I do vape because I noticed the smoker’s cough doesn’t accompany the vape as as it does with the cigs. It helped me quite smoking completely for three years but I went back to smoking…still weighing the options of one vs.the other. Still either way, I’m a nicotine addict who at this stage of my life is ok with it. I have been a nicotine addict for over 40 years and accept it, it’s my choice and I would like it to remain that way for myself and others.

            I don’t promote smoking, I promote rights and your taking away the rights from us OR us taking away the rights from you is WRONG either way but in keeping things fair, it’s ONLY 5 buildings in Mesquite that negatively affect the non smokers, AGAIN, IT’S YOUR CHOICE TO GO OR NOT TO GO INTO THOSE 5 PLACES. I’m not trying to force any issues on you, YOU however want to force your issues on the businesses and the smokers not even allowing for any sort of compromise whereas, the rest of Mesquite IS SMOKE FREE, we’ve already given you our compromise…we’re not fighting to make smoking legal EVERYWHERE, just those 5 places and our own homes, YOU CAN HAVE THE REST OF MESQUITE, IT’S ALREADY SMOKE FREE.

            The one benefit to vaping is that it doesn’t present any danger to anyone but the “vapee” and the odor, if any, is pleasant according to most people who don’t vape or smoke but can smell the “vape Flavors”

            Those massive losses are not my talk but the talk of casinos who have gone smoke free and experienced the losses.

            The casino in one of the articles DOES allow vaping.

            Your response actually solidifies my thoughts that the advocates don’t actually read anything that contradicts your own thoughts and are very closed minded on this topic.

            If you had actually read the articles you would have seen it, “Most of the large casinos also sell electronic cigarettes which seem to have become the craze in South Dakota after the smoking ban. Those can be used indoors at any gambling table or machine. They can also be used in any bar or restaurant.”

            Where are you getting your numbers that only 20% of Mesquite residents smoke? That is the misinformed information you take from the Mesquite survey that asked the question of ONLY 277 people…sorry, that’s not even close to a majority of Mesquite residents. Read the report for yourself; talk about spewing fake news… Everything that leads up to the actual numbers polled is completely misleading but I suppose you didn’t see that either.

  8. Faye Drover says:

    I have COPD as a direct result of smoking however I do not agree with any of this bill. If I am in the casino and someone near me is smoking, I move. Pretty simple.

    As for banishment of smoking in or around your home, I’m curious if we will be hiring “cigarette police”. No one and I emphasize NO ONE will ever control what goes on in my home or on my property.

  9. Lloyd F Love says:

    Mr. Mayor, as a retired businessman I understand your fear that everyone will leave Mesquite and there will be nothing left but empty buildings along with the empty blocks downtown. Especially since you do not believe any of the studies conducted by the government in regards to the negatives of smoking and second hand smoke. I did some research and maybe you would be more comfortable with reviewing the studies done by our own state universities in regards to the percentage of gamblers who smoke. These studies were done on the three in-state gambling centers (Vegas, Reno and other). It might comfort you to know that only a little over 20 percent of gamblers smoke. So we would at most lose those 20 per cent so someone would be here to “turn out the lights”.

    You have done much research on the negative impact of unemployment and as one who has been unemployed in my work life I concur that it is devastating. It is not as devastating, however, than to lose someone you love to cancer. A bright light is that Mesquite does have an employment problem – we do not have enough workers for the businesses we have and the ones we would like to move here. Maybe you could focus some of your energy on getting us affordable housing for the people who work here or would like to work here.

    Lloyd F Love

  10. Carol Thatcher says:

    I cannot gamble because of the heavy smoke. Enough said.

  11. Randy Bauman says:

    Mayor Litman and most of the City Council have been telling the coalition for years that they should “put it on the ballot.” In fact he told me this personally in a meeting on March 1, 2016. But now that we’re moving toward that happening they’re doing everything they can to scare-monger and stifle the democratic process.

    Questioning the health dangers of second hand smoke is absurd. This is settled science and it takes all of 30 seconds to refute it. For example, according to a 2006 report by the U.S. Surgeon General, “secondhand smoke dramatically increases the risk of heart disease and lung cancer in nonsmokers and can only be controlled by making indoor spaces smoke free.”
    There is absolutely no evidence of the economic devastation being pushed by city hall and it is not only offensive but patently untrue. What they’re saying is that we don’t care if we kill our casino workers or patrons – we need more money to spend . . Soccer fields anyone?

    Oh, and be sure to ignore the independent survey of registered voters that said almost 60% would be more likely to visit casinos and stay longer once smoking is banned. Let’s see, roughly 85% of people don’t smoke but the 15% who do are going to stop gambling (or drive 90 miles to Vegas to have a cigarette) and cause the casinos to have fewer private jets and the City of Mesquite to go out of business. There’s a word for the mayor’s suppositions: hyperbole.

    Much of what is coming out of City Hall should disturb every Mesquite resident. Stay tuned.

    • Sonny Graham says:

      It’s not rocket science Mr. Bauman – if you do not like the second hand smoke / smell of smoke, then simply do not open the doors to the casinos. If you’re so desperate to eat at any of the restaurants at the Virgin River, CasaBlanca, Eureka, Golden West, then you do not get to bitch and moan.

      As an Educator, and one who has had second jobs in this town, I chose where I wanted to work. Not because of my education or experience (parts store, anybody?), but because I wanted to work there. Those who seek employment in the casinos are not forced to submit an application, and go about the steps that lead to employment. There are plenty of businesses that are willing to hire employees that are smoke free – and the majority of these companies pay more than the $8.25/hour at Mesquite Gaming…(I don’t know what the other establishments pay).

      Yes, Mayor Litman does care. It’s also no one’s business if an individual over 18 smokes or not. We don’t pay for their cigarettes. If you’re gambling and a chain smoker sits by you, simply do what both of my parents do (who are both former smokers themselves) – get up and leave. Chances are you haven’t won your money back at that machine anyway…

      The point is – this is America – where you’re pretty much free to do as you damn well please (as long as it’s legal). All of you moved to this town knowing there were casinos, smoking and drinking. Next, some of you will try to move Mesquite Days to December because it’s too hot to sit out and watch the parade… (did you read how silly that sounds – just like your fight for a smoke free town).

    • Steve Clutterham says:

      Pass the smoking ban and I guarantee you casinos will close. Casinos closing in Mesquite will devastate our city. I just have one simple question. This past Sunday I was in Las Vegas with my brother in law. We stopped for gas at a Smith’s, I believe it was on Nellis Blvd. Why were we approached in LAS VEGAS to sign the clean air initiative? It is a Mesquite City petition, not a county or state initiative, so why are they in Las Vegas trying to get signatures? Is this even legal? Is it a sign of desperation that they are not getting enough signatures here is Mesquite?

  12. David Petrillo says:

    Someone please call 911 as soon as possible. Our mayor is having a full blown panic attack. I fear for our mayor if the petition to put the “non smoking casino” question on the November ballot actually gets the required number of signatures. And let’s not even dare think what would happen to the mayor if the citizens of Mesquite actually approve the ballot initiative. Our mayor was a hero in Vietnam. Now he is afraid of offending people who pollute our casinos. I can only imagine what trauma our mayor suffered when smoking was banned in restaurants, hospitals, stadiums, movie theaters, airplanes, and at city council meetings. Our mayor probably had to be hospitalized when the seat belt law was passed. Our mayor needs to man up and let the citizens make a decision about smoke free casinos November. P

    • Al Litman says:

      Mr. Petrillo,
      I love your interesting sense of humor. I hated eating in any place that allowed smoking,always sat in no smoking sections of planes. Don’t remember ever being in a theater that allowed smoking, moved, whenever possible in outdoor stadiums that had smoking, and lived many years in Hawaii where smoking was not allowed in any public places. They don’t have casinos, so that was never an issue. By the way, I had seat belts installed before there was a seat belt law in my 1959 Chevy. First person in town to do this at age 17. I would like no smoking in casinos if if were done on a statewide basis all at once. Mesquite cannot afford to be the experiment. What I don’t like is a petition that does not tell anyone the total ramifications of what is actually in the petition. I do not believe any government should tell someone they cannot smoke on their own property. Of course rental units can do this in the lease agreements. Also, should this become law, I am obligated to enforce it and, of course, would. I DO NOT break they law. If you would like to discuss the actual ordiinance as written, I would be more than happy to do so.

    • Al Smith says:

      Sounds like Mr. Petrillo cant understand the Facts that Teri and the Mayor through at him or didn’t bother to read them cause now he is turning to personal attacks like a child in the sandbox of life. Typical.., cant argue intelligently…, attack them. We see it every day now across this Great Nation.
      B.T.W. I am a smoker but IDENTIFY as a Non-Smoker Mr. Petrillo

  13. Vinny Gracchus says:

    Reject this proposed smoking ban.

  14. Linda Harris says:

    It’s very disheartening to have a Mayor of a community spew such misinformation. My husband and I located to Mesquite almost two years ago. We love it here but are very selective where we go because of the smoking. We like the Virgin River buffet but rarely go there because the smoke in there is the worst in town. We came here from a community that was about an hour and a half from Deadwood, South Dakota. They put the nonsmoking issue on the ballet and we all heard the same fear mongering; casinos will close, workers will lose their jobs, second hand smoke won’t hurt you, on and on. Well it passed and today Deadwood is going strong. People that stayed away because of the smoke started going there. The casinos had nice places with patio furniture for the smokers. No one lost their job, casinos didn’t close and by the way, Deadwood is only 1200 people. I doubt our community of over 20,000 is going to dry up. I do not have any issue with anyone that smokes. It’s your personal right to do so but apparently I have no rights. I’m denied access to places unless I want to breath in smoke and come out smelling like it.

    • Teri Nehrenz says:


      It is so disheartening to see comments spew such misinformation: This is from your own HOMETOWN NEWSPAPER: For non smokers, the smoking ban creates a clean air environment. Most non smokers were happy to see the ban pass. The casinos are still trying to figure out how to overcome the loss in business though. There are several great management groups that are doing the best that they can to cater to all of their players, whether they smoke or not.

      Nobody is DENIED ACCESS to the casinos, it’s your CHOICE. You maintain the RIGHT to CHOOSE to go or not to go into the casino

  15. June Black says:

    I quit smoking over 40 years ago. I cannot stand the smell of cigarette and cigar smoke. I can remove nyself from the area or not frequent smoking places. However, apt. condos with adjoining walls, leave it hazardous for non- smokers. non smoking employees cannot tell customers not to blow smoke in their faces. smoking in restaurants should be banned. Not clean or healthy. However, smokers do generate revenue. casinos, medical and employment on tobacco farms. I would raise taxes on purchasing, tobacco products, just to encourage quitting smoking. What really scares me, is when a person is on oxygen, pulls out a cigarette and lights up. I am frightened and disgusted by this behavior. But smoking has been around a lot of years, people have choices. I quit, because I did not like being breathless when walking, I saw pictures of scarred lungs, so sad, to abuse your body and cause discomfort for non-smokers. Smokers have a right to destroy their bodies. The sooner they kill themselves off, the better the air becomes. the laws should shut down the tobacco farms and prevent juveniles from smoking. Get rid of the source, no new smokers and we have a healthier society.
    To ban is to hurt the economy. No matter the price of a pack of cigarettes. the solution, economics suffers. I am appalled that the price of a pack of cigarettes is over $5 a pack. It has made a slow agonizing death more expensive. Let the person have a freedom of choice. To me the control of addiction is frightening cigarettes and drugs, yet people start, education and publicizing the agony of addiction should be a detterant to experimentation and the first step. We should strive to understand the person addicted, and respect their freedom of choice. We as a society see a giant chasm separating the smokers from the non-smokers. Business can choose to allow or disallow smoking in their establishment. I am glad to see non-smoking establishments are successful. The trend is starting, and I anticipate in the near future a total non-smoking society evolving.
    a non smoking ban is unnecessary,it will naturally evolve,

  16. Thomas S. Hancock says:

    It surprising Mayor Littman has so little faith in all reasons so many of us moved here that he believe instituting clean air in our casinos’ would bring the demise to our economy. The fact is Mr. Mayor, the opposite is true in the numerous cities across our great country as well as casinos with clean indoor air. As a retired Air Force colonel, I know our instituting clean indoor air didn’t deter volunteers from joining. Nor did the FAA mandating no-smoking on aircraft stop passengers from flying causing airlines to go broke and stop hiring! And how many U.S. corporations allow indoor smoking? Not a one, and not has gone broke as a result. Mr. Littman, would you support the FDA abolishing cleanliness and health standards in Mesquite’s business restaurants and kitchens’? So why wouldn’t you support clean indoor air in our casinos when second-hand smoke has been proven a major health risk as a minimum? Our people and visitors who don’t smoke have a right to breath clean indoor air…especially considering the limited indoor entertainment opportunities here. Mesquite is a growing futuristic town Mr. Mayor of which its economy no longer depends on smokers. You in effect say it does, so why would you consider it illogical to believe the opposite is true with all Mesquite has to offer? Does our economy Mr. Mayor really depend on smokers? Seriously? As Bob Dylan wrote decades ago, “The Times they are a Changin’!” The fact is Mr. Mayor, they already have. Where have you been lately? For those who may wonder, I’m not a progressive liberal but rather a conservative pro-growth Republican!

    • Teri Nehrenz says:

      It has been proven over and over again how the smoke free environment impacts economics. This is from the NON SMOKING CITY OF DEADWOOD NORTH DAKOTA’s local newspaper, THEIR CASINOS WENT SMOKE FREE: For non smokers, the smoking ban creates a clean air environment. Most non smokers were happy to see the ban pass. The casinos are still trying to figure out how to overcome the loss in business though. There are several great management groups that are doing the best that they can to cater to all of their players, whether they smoke or not. New Orleans casinos took a huge hit when they went smoke free
      “Representatives with Caesar’s Entertainment say gambling revenues at Harrah’s Casino in New Orleans have decreased $70 million since a city smoking ban went into effect in April 2015.”

      EVERYBODY needs to do their homework before you vote or advocate for something that is happening all over the country with the smoke free casinos…they all took a hit when they went smoke free. We can’t afford to take that hit; even a small one would be devastating to our economy.

      WHAT IS THE DEFINITION OF INSANITY? Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. It really HASN’T worked in other places, there are a ton of reports saying the loss of revenue is massive; all the smoke free advocates just want to keep saying it won’t affect Mesquite’s economy but why should Mesquite be any different than the others?

  17. Elizabeth Glavich says:

    Speaking of smoking regulations, Nevada is the only state that does not protect their citizens.All of the other states that have casinos have done well, they are thriving.
    Why be negative, the casinos might do well. And states without casinos also have laws to protect their citizens. The casinos can have a patio for smoking.
    It is a proven fact that second hand smoke causes many health problems.
    I wish you would consider protecting the citizens of Mesquite instead of the casinos.

    • Teri Nehrenz says:


      It has never been a proven fact that second hand smoke kills, there has been no autopsy report, anywhere in the United States that will list the cause of death as Second hand smoke. If that were truly the case, why isn’t everyone in Cleveland, Ohio, Pittsburgh, PA and Los Angeles, CA dead? Do you really believe that States want to protect their citizens yet poison our water, radiate our soil or dump toxic waste in it, spray chemicals into our air and spew all sorts of smoke from the too many to count smokestacks all over the country. Is that what you’re calling protection? All of that and it’s the smoke inside 5 casinos that folks are up in arms about. Makes no sense. That is hype caused and created by the anti tobacco companies, that’s all. You can read dozens of reports either way but there is no death caused solely by Second hand smoke. And heart, lung, organ issues can arise from anything from environment to lifestyle choices.

      There are also NO casinos that are thriving because they went smoke free….dozens of reports to the opposite. Casinos that went smoke free in both North Dakota and Louisiana are losing money, 20% in New Orleans…that same 20% of revenue loss would kill Mesquite’s workers.

      • Al Smith says:

        Barking on deaf ears to people with tunnel vision Teri.
        Good job on the FACTS though
        Thank You

  18. Angie Mellon says:

    Mayor Littman:
    Thank you for your well written article. And to the nay-sayers, the fact is that a smoking ban DOES impact casinos. New Jersey had to reverse their ban because it was costing them millions in lost revenue. I know of at least one casino in town that upgrades their air filtration system on the regular. Also, the ‘Clean Air’ coalition, to use an example, approached a friend last week IN HER GARAGE. Without explaining the initiative, they talked her into signing the petition. Her husband came out, saw them, and explained the petition to his wife, whereupon she attempted to take her name OFF the petition. The woman holding it yelled “You can’t do that!” and ran away. This is disgusting. Also, are all of these signatures from Mesquite residents, or are they from out of town (Las Vegas) or out of state (visitors)? I am tired of people telling us what to do, from using a dead woman’s picture to elicit sympathy (Alecia Sibio, who, when I knew her, was a non-smoker) to waylaying people on their property. If you want to get your point across, at least be honorable about it, and honest.

  19. Russell Clark says:

    Mayor Littman is right. I would certainly leave Mesquite if there was a smoking ban

  20. Russell Clark says:

    Mayor Littman is correct. The negative effects of a smoking ban would be devastating for Mesquite

    • Teri Nehrenz says:

      Hi Russell,

      Some people aren’t realizing the actual financial effects on the employees and what that will do. For some reason they think that the loss of even 20% of Mesquite business won’t severely affect the working folks.
      If you’ll indulge me on your comment I’d like to share a bit of what might happen.

      I worked as a restaurant supervisor in the cafe for a year. On any given day in the fall and winter our restaurant saw over 700 people on an 8 hour shift. The servers made good tips along with minimum wage, the bussers made minimum wage plus meager tips, the cooks made about $10 per hour. We had a full staff.

      In the summer time everything was cut down by half or more…guests and staff hours not to mention tips.

      Rents in Mesquite run about $750 for a crappy apartment…(I also worked as a property manager for one of them). Housing in Mesquite is no deal.

      To compensate for the loss of wages and maintain rents purse strings have to tighten somewhere and that’s usually when the retail and service providers begin to see the hit…not to mention the hit they’ve already experienced just from the lack of Snowbirds.

      Usually folks have those winter months to help build a safety net but they won’t have that luxury with any sort of loss of business.

      I’m not concerned for the winter months but summer months would be devastating ESPECIALLY when the winter months have been cut by that 20% and there’s no longer the safety net.

      That’s just the restaurant at the VR but every restaurant in town will do the same and the retail/service business loss will result in cut hours or cut jobs…the pay rates for most of the retail/service and hospitality employees isn’t high enough to sustain the loss of hours/wages/jobs…it’ll become a trickle down nightmare.

      I don’t know why they think minimum wage or even 10-12 dollar an hour workers can handle that loss and maintain.

      I’m sure that some of them, especially those from Sun City, can’t relate to those who live paycheck to paycheck; I sure hope they open their eyes before this initiative destroys the town.

  21. Amy Marshall says:

    By the way, I noticed that one uninformed person said that the tip positions do not declare tips. As a former dealer, I can tell you we had to report 100% of our tips, so our paychecks were next to nothing. We depended on those tips. What this smoking ban will do is convince people to drive down to Vegas, bypassing Mesquite completely. They come here for relaxation. The casinos provide a place where they can do that, without their nanny states looking over their shoulders. You clean air people have every place in town other than the casinos, and Wedgies provides a nonsmoking environment to drink and gamble in. This smoking ban will kill our business. It’s not an opinion, it’s a fact.

  22. Please support clean air in public places. Colorado casinos went smoke free 10 years ago and they are flourishing! Employees and patrons were over the moon when this initiative passed. Yes. The Colorado casinos were scared initially just like Mesquite ‘s casinos are now but amazingly and with the help of enclosed smoking rooms, the casinos are doing just fine 10 years after the smoking ban took effect.

    I am totally surprised that Al Litman is not supporting a smoke free environment. Isn’t he instructing an aerobic spin class?

    • Amy Marshall says:

      Ava Scudder—are you aware there is ALREADY a smoking ban for public places? Casinos are considered private property with public access. You cannot use the ‘public place’ argument. You can ask any city council member, or even any attorney, and they will tell you the same. Casinos are private property.

  23. Ron Kiima says:

    A word of caution everyone. Many herein are allowing themselves to fall for the bait in this debate. The elitist radicals behind this petition are not fixated merely on smoking. Their endgame is imposing their radical views upon every aspect of your lives, be it smoking, drinking, illegal immigration, universal incomes, abortion, nationalized healthcare, transgender bathrooms, etc, etc, etc. THEY ARE INSATIABLE SOCIALISTIC (IF NOT COMMUNISTIC) RADICALS…PERIOD! The ONLY solution is to help them pack up their Volkswagon buses and send their old hippy a**es back to Berkeley where they came from. And remember, they would have never left Berkeley if their radical agenda hasn’t made it too expensive and intolerable to live there!

  24. Marinka Green says:

    Thank you Mayor Littman for the care you show the city, by your opposition of the non smoking ban. I have lived in Mesquite 23 years, and have worked in the casinos, and I believe also that if the ban were to come into effect, I would probably lose my job and be forced to take my family and move away to a place where this is not an issue My children were basically born and raised in Mesquite, and this would greatly impact their lives in more ways than one.

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