Atlantic City Council Vote In Favour of Opposition Group
A recent law passed by the Atlantic City Council is good news for casino smoking opposition group. The new resolution has put an end to a loophole that authorized the use of tobacco inside New Jersey casinos. This news was met with lots of cheers from a leading Casino Opposition Group.
During its last meeting, the Atlantic City Council voted in support of a resolution of the New Jersey Senate Bill 1878. The move seeks to out an end to an indoor smoking ban exception for casinos and resorts.
Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights (ANS) thanked the council for its resolution. The group issued a statement to commend the council
“This is a positive step forward to ensure that casino employees are not forced to choose between their health and a paycheck,” declared Cynthia Hallett, ANSR president and CEO.
The New Jersey’s Smoke Free Act of 2006 gave casinos in Atlantic City immunity from such law. This meant that casinos could allocate as much as 25 percent of their gaming floor to smoking, while others public spaces stopped indoor smoking.
The Fight Continues
Atlantic City casinos are reluctant to banning indoor smoking. Experts suggest such a move could affect revenues in the in the long run. However, anti-smoking groups reject such claims.
Casinos in various parts of the country have reported impressive numbers despite the ban on smoking on the facility. For example casinos in Pennsylvania, have shown tremendous growth in terms of placing a ban on smoking.
According to Hallet there is no correlation between a drop in revenue and a ban in smoking in casinos. She insists that lawmakers are still in limbo when it comes to the issue
“Senate President Stephen Sweeney remains the biggest obstacle to getting this legislation across the finish line,” Hallett explained. “We are building a diverse coalition of lawmakers, casino workers, businesses, and others who will help us make inaction unacceptable.”
Sweeney said that the gaming industry is struggling thanks to the coronavirus pandemic. A smoke ban will put a strain on an already fragile industry.
“State legislators will have no choice but to pass this legislation during the lame duck session later this year. Tired industry arguments to keep indoor smoking no longer carry weight, especially since Atlantic City casinos thrived while operating smoke-free,” Hallett declared.
However, the bill still drags on. The SB 1878 is still in its infancy with the hope that it would gather momentum in the coming moths. Supporters of the bill are calling for more attention.
“The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health found that casino workers are at greater risk for lung and heart disease because of secondhand smoke, and a study in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine found that the air in casinos can have up to 50 times more cancer-causing particles than the air on rush-hour highways,” read a statement from SB 1878 co-authors Senators Shirley Turner (D-District 15) and Joseph Vitale (D-District 19).
“This bill would protect all workers in New Jersey from the hazards of second-hand smoke by requiring that casinos and casino simulcasting facilities be smoke-free workplaces,” the lawmakers concluded.