NJ Casino Workers Gather to Urge the State to Forbid Smoking in Casinos

The casino smoking ban in Atlantic City has been gaining massive momentum recently and gaming workers will now urge the state to introduce bills that will finally forbid cigarettes in these venues. Casino Employees Against Smoking Effects (CEASE) are meeting today (Tuesday, April 12) to show support for Senate Bill 264 and Assembly Bill 2151, which are designed to end smoking at casino properties.

Casinos Are the Only NJ Workplaces Where Smoking Is Allowed

This is not the first time that casino workers are demanding a smoking ban in these facilities. Casinos are the only exception to the New Jersey Smoke-Free Air Act of 2006 and smoking has been allowed in these properties for the past 16 years.

Even though smoking in casino properties was briefly banned in 2020, as a COVID-19 transmission-prevention measure, the restriction was lifted in 2021. In a statement, CEASE said that it will be rallying on April 12 at McClinton Park as a way to continue its efforts into making sure that smoking at casino properties is banned.

CEASE’s co-leader, the 21-year-old Nicole Vitola, stated that casino workers have been left out of the state’s protection for 16 years. Vitola added that there’s no way that authorities think that smoking is bad for everyone, except for casino workers.

In a statement given to Casino.org, CEASE claimed that workers are forced to choose between their “health and a paycheck.” The association urged everyone to join as it stated that it is closer and closer to succeeding in its goal.

Casino Operators Do Not Support a Ban on Smoking

Apart from CEASE, Assembly members Claire Swift and Don Guardian, as well as state Sen. Vince Polistina, will attend the event. Polistina stated that the ban on smoking during the pandemic showed everyone that if smoking becomes prohibited, “it’s not going to be the end of the world.”

However, none of the operating casinos in Atlantic City supports the ban. The reason why is that a CANJ-commissioned survey found out that if a smoking ban is introduced the GGR of casinos in the region will be reduced by almost 11% just 2 months after it is put into effect. Moreover, the survey estimates that over 2,500 jobs are likely to be lost.

The survey also states that 21% of the gamblers in Atlantic City are smokers. According to CDC, smoking is the leading cause of preventable death and on average, smokers die 10 years earlier than people that don’t smoke. CDC also argues that second-hand smokers are also caught in the fire. Of the 500,000 people who die each year in the US due to smoking, 41,000 are due to secondhand smoke exposure.

Last week, The Press of Atlantic City stated that most of the members of the health committees in the Assembly and the Senate support and co-sponsor proposals S264 and A2151.

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