Casino smoking ban sees some headway in New Jersey

November 21, 2023

Indoor smoking was banned in the state in 2006 but allowed at gambling facilities.

Last week, it was announced that the Pennsylvania House Health Committee recently passed a bill to ban smoking in the state’s casinos; now, in New Jersey it looks as if lawmakers could be advancing toward doing likewise. 

Within the Garden State, indoor smoking was banned in 2006, though the practice was allowed to continue in casinos and their facilities. 

Workers at the casinos have been asking for years to eliminate smoking in gambling facilities, referencing the damage that is caused by secondhand smoke on their health. 

A survey conducted at the Isleta Resort and Casino in Albuquerque revealed that 95% of staff had reported that they appreciated a non-smoking workplace. 

Lawmakers' efforts to get the ban put in place have been boosted in recent years by the workers' campaign, finding support from 26 senators and 57 members of the Assembly as sponsors and cosponsors of the bill. 

The bill’s prime Senate sponsor, Sen. Joe Vitale (D-Middlesex), commented: “The casino workers are becoming increasingly sick. Some have died because they’ve been exposed directly to secondhand smoke. 

“In no other workplace in New Jersey do we permit putting workers at risk of serious health consequences, but they have. It’s just untenable.” 

The legislation hasn’t advanced much, with the Senate’s health committee hearing testimony on the bill in February, though it did not vote on it. 

Atlantic City’s casinos have long been against any ban on smoking, suggesting it would make them uncompetitive with the casinos in neighboring states and affect their earnings. 


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