For smokers, Las Vegas is a haven—a desert oasis where they can smoke cigarettes butt-to-butt day and night on the casino floor without fear of interruption or complaint.
But while it can be mildly entertaining to watch old ladies whittle away their retirement savings at the penny slots, wearing every piece of jewelry they own while chain-smoking themselves into an earlier grave, all that smoke can be a destination deterrent for non-smokers. And managing a smoke-free Las Vegas trip is no easy task.
Smoke-Free Las Vegas
In 2007, Nevada passed the Clean Indoor Air Act, banning cigarette smoking in public spaces like restaurants, hotel lobbies, and elevators. Yet much to the chagrin of those who value lung health and pleasant-smelling hair, smoking is still allowed in gaming areas—and the eye-stinging stench remains pervasive everywhere else.
Here’s how to avoid the smoke on the Strip and enjoy a smoke-free Las Vegas vacation.
Stay at a Smoke-Free Las Vegas Hotel
Breathe easy. The Delano, Vdara, and some of the other MGM Signature Hotels, such as Aria, are completely non-smoking Las Vegas hotels and will fine guests a minimum of $500 for smoking in their rooms.
That means no lingering smell in the elevators, no residual odor from smoking rooms, and no need to plug your nose in the hotel lobby. It’s clean, classy, and, bonus—your dog can come and enjoy the clean air smells to his heart’s content. (If you think you’re suffering while choking your way through a smoky situation, think of the dogs—their noses are 40 times stronger than the average human’s.)
The non-smoking policy also applies to recreational and medicinal cannabis.
Take a Lyft, Not a Taxi or Uber in Las Vegas
While it is illegal for Las Vegas taxi drivers to smoke or use tobacco products when passengers are present in their vehicles, they are allowed to smoke in their cars when they don’t have riders, which is why so many taxi cabs reek of stale smoke.
Lyft specifies in its safety policy that smoking inside Lyft cars is against community rules because some passengers may have respiratory issues or be bothered by the smell. In fact, if a passenger reports that a driver’s car smells like smoke, that drive can be deactivated.
Uber’s policies regarding smoking are less clear and allow drivers to set their own policy regarding smoking restrictions.
Bet on Poker and Sports
Generally speaking, the only way to avoid the smoke soup while gambling at some of the casinos is to take advantage of the well-presented sports book and poker rooms. While there are still some hold-out poker pits that remain hell-bent on maintaining Mad Men-era atmospheric conditions, thankfully they are few and far between.
You may want to hold your breath if you go all-in on no-limit hold ‘em or take 11/4 odds on the Cubs to win the World Series, but it won’t be because the air is rife with nicotine emissions.
For the most part, if you want it, in Las Vegas, you can get it. Indoor retail shopping venues are covered under the smoke-free Las Vegas restrictions, so you don’t have to worry about checking clothing for cigarette burn holes in the dressing room. Stick to the major shopping areas that are inside a venue instead of clustered together around the Strip to sidestep any residual smoke.
Retreat to the Pool and Spa
The Delano Hotel and Mandalay Bay Hotel are both properties of MGM Resorts International and are connected by corridors so guests of the Delano Hotel have all the same access as Mandalay Bay guests to the impressive medley of swimming pool options, including the lazy river and wave pool.
But Delano guests have exclusive access to the Beach Club, a private pool area within the larger pool complex that doesn’t allow smoking. For $30, guests can purchase a day pass to the resort’s Bathhouse Spa to take advantage of the eucalyptus steam room, cold plunge pool, sauna, and relaxation room. Non-guests can access the spa by purchasing a treatment.
And obviously, smoking is prohibited there, too.
Take in Dinner and a Show
As part of the Nevada Clean Indoor Air Act, smoking is not permitted in restaurants, lounges where food is served, meeting and convention spaces, theaters, arenas, and some other areas. Restaurants inside casinos are non-smoking.
However, your smoke-free Las Vegas experience does not extend to nightclubs and lounges, which are not required to ban smoking as long as they do not serve food. So if you’re trying to avoid smoky-hair syndrome, steer clear of those places and opt instead for one of the amazing Cirque du Soleil offerings or a comedy show.