I recently returned from a weeklong vacation in Las Vegas. I enjoyed the 60-something temperatures while the East Coast was mired in a deep freeze, visited with friends and family, ate wonderful meals, and even left with some of the casinos' money. But I also came home with a respiratory infection and a suitcase full of clothing that had to go right into the washing machine because it reeked of stale tobacco. Las Vegas has very few smoke-free gaming areas, and I sure could smell the difference.

It all got me thinking about Atlantic City's decline in gaming revenues.

One solution for Atlantic City would be to make the resort's casinos entirely smoke-free and then market the daylights out of that fact. Not only on the East Coast, but place ads in Midwestern cities whose residents almost automatically gravitate to Las Vegas. The ads could say something like "Atlantic City has the casinos, the gourmet restaurants, and the shopping, but you won't return home with a case of bronchitis and smelling like an ashtray."

Given that 82 percent of American adults are non-smokers, I think it would work quite well. And smokers tend to be less educated and less affluent than those who don't use tobacco, so a smoke-free Atlantic City would attract a higher caliber of patrons.

As for those who want to smoke while they gamble, they can always go to Pennsylvania.

ELAINE ROSE

Galloway Township

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