New bill would continue to allow restricted smoking at Atlantic City casinos

New bill would continue to allow restricted smoking at Atlantic City casinos

The measure would maintain the limit on the amount of casino floor where smoking is permitted..

US.- New Jersey state senator John Burzichelli has introduced a bill that would would allow smoking in designated unenclosed areas of casino floors that contain slot machines and that are more than 15 feet from table games staffed by live dealers.

The bill, described as a compromise between the current situation and calls for a complete ban, would also allow the casinos to offer smoking in enclosed, separately ventilated smoking rooms. No worker would be allowed to be put to work in the rooms against their will.

There are now two competing bills, with a previous proposal seeking to ban smoking at casinos. Smoking was temporarily banned at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 but was permitted again from July 2021. Casinos have largely remained opposed to a ban.

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CEASE (Casino Employees Against Smoking’s Harmful Effects) called Burzichelli’s bill “Big Tobacco and casino industry talking points, copied and pasted.”

It said: “This bill would retain the same level of smoking as is currently permitted and will not decrease in any way the amount of exposure workers have to secondhand smoke.”

The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network issued a statement against the bill. It said: “Since the 1980s, we’ve known that secondhand smoke can cause cancer, along with a host of other devastating health effects, like heart disease. Yet despite the crystal-clear proof that exposure to secondhand smoke is bad, and that smoke-free laws work, lawmakers continue to force Atlantic City workers to choose between their paycheck and breathing in secondhand smoke.”

Burzichelli said: “It’s about what we can do to keep casinos open, and how do we get it right. Losing one casino means thousands of jobs lost.”

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