Atlantic City’s nine casinos won’t see smoking banned anytime soon, according to the latest developments. This was supported by Senate President Stephen Sweeney who confirmed that there have been no serious discussions about the anti-smoking legislation.
There Have Been no Deep Talks About The Ban Yet
“We haven’t even started to talk about it, really, in any deep dialogue,” Sweeney said before a ceremony for the opening of a supermarket in Atlantic City.
He added that the Governor, the Assembly speaker and himself are yet to discuss which bills they are going to move forward.
“I don’t know what the lame duck’s going to look like. The legislature and the Governor all have to be in agreement. So, we’ll see,” Sweeney concluded.
It seems that the passing of the anti-smoking law doesn’t seem to be in sight. However, it has at least one supporter – the Democratic Governor Phil Murphy has promised that he will sign the measure if it gets approved by the lawmakers first.
Several months ago, Murphy had temporarily banned smoking in the Atlantic City casinos. Yet, this ban expired in August, ushering in indoor smoking once again.
Anti-Smoking Activists Continue to Insist for the Bill’s Approval
The delay of the anti-smoking bill seems to be a setback to anti-smoking activists who wanted smoking to be prohibited in all indoor locations. Currently, Atlantic City’s casinos are the only exceptions where tobacco use is allowed indoors.
Back in August, Atlantic City voted in favor of Senate Bill 1878, with many non-smoking bettors hoping that it will make a change. Sweeney and the casino owners proved to be firmly opposed to the idea, believing that a ban on tobacco will damage business even more than COVID-19 already has.
The Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights movement has been very vocal in its demands for the bill to be passed. The association’s chief executive officer, Cynthia Hallett, previously accused casinos of being ready to risk people’s good health for some extra profit. Additionally, Hallett had pointed out statistics that refute Sweeney’s claims that a smoking ban would hurt the casinos’ revenues.
The smoking ban Bill currently has a lot of supporters, with people opposed to smoking outnumbering pro-smokers more than two to one, according to a poll by ACS.
For now, the Bill remains to be passed by the New Jersey Senate. On the same day that Sweeney announced there have been no discussions about the legislation, the tobacco-opposed activists held a news conference where they urged the Senate to act quickly.