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Lac du Flambeau tribe studies going smoke free at casino

LAC DU FLAMBEAU, WI (WTAQ) - Indian casinos are about the only places in Wisconsin where the public can smoke indoors.

Now, the Lac du Flambeau tribe has studied making its gaming house smoke free.

A survey of 1,000 gamblers by the tribe and the Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Council found that half said they'd be more likely to visit Lac du Flambeau's casino if smoking was banned there.

Epidemiologist Isaiah Brokenleg of the Inter-tribal Council said the survey represented all types of players at Lake of the Torches casino -- and the findings refute the assumption that smoking and gaming go hand in hand.

However, Brokenleg admits that a smoking ban would not be easy. The tribe would have to approve it in a referendum -- and on the reservation, over 40 percent of Lac du Flambeau members smoke.

Brokenleg said the "community readiness" for a ban isn't there yet.  

The survey showed that three-fourths of gamblers don't smoke -- but that's no surprise, since about 4 of every 5 Wisconsinites in general don't light up.  

Wisconsin banned smoking in indoor public buildings in 2010 -- but as sovereign nations, Indian tribes still allow it in their casinos.

The Lac du Flambeau survey was done in 2011. The results will appear in next month's American Journal of Preventative Medicine.

(Story courtesy of Wheeler News Service)