Keeping Maryland Smoke Free: National Harbor Cigar Lounge Proposal Defeated

Prince George’s County, MD- Following pressure by the American Heart Association and our national and state partners, on January 24, 2019 MGM Resorts withdrew their application to the Prince George’s County, Maryland Planning Department for a “special exception” to open a cigar lounge at their National Harbor venue.

MGM previously had submitted a proposal for a 2,038 square-foot cigar store and lounge inside the casino that was under review by Prince George’s County agencies and decision makers. However as AHA argued, Maryland’s strong smoke-free law restricts smoking in all indoor workplaces, including casinos

AHA and coalition partners including the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Lung Association, Americans for Nonsmokers Rights, and Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids strongly advocated against this proposal, on the grounds that it violates Maryland’s Clean Indoor Air Act and would expose employees and visitors to the dangers of secondhand smoke. There is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke and having the cigar lounge posed a threat to the health and welfare of all visitors and employees inside the casino.

Under pressure from County residents and others who did not want to be exposed to secondhand smoke during visits to public places, MGM withdrew their proposal on January 24, and a hearing to review the plan before the County’s Zoning Hearing Examiner on March 6 was cancelled.

“We are very pleased that MGM wisely chose to withdraw their application to open a cigar lounge at National Harbor. There is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke, which increases the risk for heart disease and stroke by 30%. This is an important step towards creating a healthier, smoke-free community,” said Stuart Berlow, State Government Relations Director of the American Heart Association.

MGM choosing to withdraw their plan for a cigar lounge at National Harbor sends a powerful message that Greater Washington residents do not want to be exposed to toxic secondhand smoke in public places.

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