New Jersey Getting Closer to Banning Smoking in Casinos

Casino workers, legislators, and supporters of a proposed smoke ban for casinos in Atlantic City, New Jersey, will hold a rally next week.

Atlantic City Casinos Workers to Hold a Rally Next Week

The Americans for Nonsmoker’s Rights Foundation (ANRF) is a non-profit advocacy group that seeks to protect the rights of everyone to breathe nontoxic air in public places and workplaces. ANRF announced Thursday that casino workers will hold a rally next week. The rally will take place on Tuesday next week at 10 am at McClinton Waterfront Park in Atlantic City. The date of the rally coincides with the 16th anniversary of the so-called “casino smoking loophole” legislation.

It was back in 2006 when the Smoke-Free Air Act came into effect. While it prohibited smoking at nearly all work and public places, casinos were exempt from that ban. For decades, casino workers and non-smokers’ rights associations have tried to fight against the created loophole and completely ban smoking in casinos.

Proposals to Ban Smoking Gain Traction in New Jersey

Now, it looks like lawmakers and casino workers have never been closer to the possibility to ban smoking in casinos. In fact, earlier this week, four more New Jersey General Assembly members showed support for a proposal that seeks to ban smoking in casinos and protect the health of the workers.

Proposal A2151 seeks to protect casino workers’ health by banning smoking inside casinos. The initiative received strong support from the New Jersey Assembly Health Committee as well as a majority of the Senate Health Committee. By now, out of 80 General Assembly members, 28 are co-sponsoring the initiative. The new co-sponsors of the initiative are Assemblymen Benjie Wimberly and John Catalano as well as Assemblywomen Sadaf Jaffer and Gabriela Mosquera.

S264 is a proposal similar to A2151 that is also gaining traction in Atlantic City. By now, S264 received broad support in the Senate, considering that 15 out of 40 New Jersey senators co-sponsored the proposal. Primary sponsors of the Senate proposal to ban smoking in casinos are Assemblyman William Moen, Health Committee Chair Herb Conaway, and Deputy Speaker Paul Moriarty. The proposal has gained the attention and approval of both Republicans and Democrats.

Casinos Can Thrive without Smoking

In a recent statement by the ANRF, legislators that showed support for the smoke ban commented on the topic. Assemblywoman Jaffer revealed that she is committed to supporting legislation that ensures the protection of the health of workers in New Jersey. She added that casino workers deserve to work in a healthy environment. In conclusion, Jaffer pointed out that she is “proud to sponsor A2151.”

“Casino workers are no exception – they deserve to have safe and healthy work environments.”

Sadaf Jaffer, Assemblywoman and Health Committee member

Wimberly, one of the new co-sponsors of the proposal, added that casino workers face a difficult choice every day by putting their health at risk to provide for their families. He explained that he supports A2151 with other legislators. According to Wimberly and the other supporters of the proposal, casinos can still thrive while at the same time protecting their employees.