The Stockton University has released a poll that shows 62 per cent of New Jersey adults support prohibiting smoking on Atlantic City casino floors.
US.- While the push continues for legislation to extend New Jersey’s indoor smoking ban to Atlantic City’s casinos, a poll by the Stockton University shows a majority of locals would be in favour of the move. The university polled 640 New Jersey adults, and 62 per cent said they support a smoking prohibition on casino floors.
Some 31 per cent indicated that they opposed a ban, while 6 per cent were unsure.
“There’s still a majority in South Jersey supporting the ban, but it’s slightly lower – 59 per cent in South Jersey would support it,” said John Froonjian, director of the William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy at Stockton. South Jersey is where Atlantic City is located.
“There are more people who are dependent on the casino industry for jobs in the south, and the casino industry has said that if this ban goes into effect, they will lose revenue and that will translate into job losses,” Froonjian said.
Last week, the United Auto Workers (UAW) added its voice to calls for a smoking ban at Atlantic City casinos. “Our members include dealers who sit inches away from patrons who blow smoke directly into their face for eight hours a day, every single day,” read a letter sent to state legislators.
On April 12, Casino Employees Against Smoking Effects (CEASE) met to voice their support for a ban on smoking in casinos. The rally marked the 16th anniversary of the ban on indoor smoking in New Jersey via the New Jersey Smoke-Free Air Act of 2006. Smoking at casinos was temporarily banned during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic outbreak in 2020 but were allowed to permit smoking again in July last year.
Casinos have largely remained opposed to a permanent ban. The Casino Association of New Jersey, the trade group for Atlantic City’s nine casinos, recently commissioned a report predicting widespread job losses and revenue declines if smoking were banned.
“Atlantic City has yet to see growth from pre-pandemic levels,” association president Joe Lupo said. “Employment at our casinos is at a 20-year low, with less than 50 per cent of the workforce from 2003.”.
Governor Phil Murphy has said that he would sign such a bill, ending the exemption for casinos in New Jersey’s public health law.