Workers push for smoking ban at Rhode Island casinos

Workers push for smoking ban at Rhode Island casinos

Rhode Island casino workers have expressed support for S438.

US.- Rhode Island casino workers met yesterday in support of a bill that would ban smoking at the venues where they work. About two dozen employees at Bally’s Twin River in Lincoln and Bally’s Tiverton Casino gathered at the State House to plead with lawmakers to repeal the “loophole” that allows smoking at the state’s two casinos despite Rhode Island having a smoke-free workplace law.

Lawmakers, nonsmokers’ rights activists, and the Rhode Island chapter of Casino Employees Against Smoking Effects joined the rally. 

The Rhode Island Senate Committee on Finance is to consider S438, which was introduced by lawmakers earlier this year. It met last month to hear H5237, a companion bill that would remove the exemption for casinos from the state’s smokefree workplace law.

The casinos did ban smoking in June 2020 as a safety measure during the Covid-19 pandemic, but the ban was lifted in March of last year. Currently, Rhode Island law requires casinos to create special non-smoking areas, with separate ventilation systems.

A similar loophole exists in New Jersey, where Atlantic City’s casinos are the only indoor workplaces where smoking is permitted.

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