Casino workers in Atlantic City continue their fight for clean indoor at their jobs, making parallels between the smoke from Canadian wildfire that still lingers hundreds of miles south in New Jersey with their workplaces filled with tobacco smoke.
As previously reported by CasinoGamesPro, the Casino Employees Against Smoking Effects (CEASE) group was established in the summer of 2021, after the expiration of the Covid-19 pandemic-related emergency health order of Governor Murphy expired. Now, the group is battling unhealthy working conditions, with a temporary mandate putting casino smoking on hold at the nine casinos that currently operate in Atlantic City.
For the two years of its operation, CEASE has managed to expand to a number of other US states. Currently, the organization has operations in Pennsylvania, Virginia, Rhode Island, and Kansas.
In its latest public statement, the group has compared indoor smoking in casinos and its impact on non-smoking casino patrons and workers to the impact that fires hundreds of miles away can have on the ability to breathe clean air on the Atlantic City Boardwalk. CEASE further noted that too many Atlantic City casino employees are forced to breathe dangerous second-hand smoke while at their workplaces and this needs to change as quickly as possible.
CEASE Urges New Jersey Lawmakers to Close Existing Loophole Allowing Indoor Smoking in Casinos ASAP
For quite some time, the Casino Employees Against Smoking Effects organization has been urging New Jersey lawmakers to close the legislative loophole in the state’s Smoke-Free Air Act of 2006 that suspends indoor smoking in most public places. As previously revealed by CasinoGamesPro, the General Assembly of the state supported such action, with two pieces of legislation – Assembly Bill 2151 and Senate Bill 264 – both seeking to close the existing loophole on casino smoking. The proposed bills have already gathered enough support to be sent to the desk of Governor Murphy.
Governor Murphy, on the other hand, has said he supports the smoking ban in Atlantic City casinos but he needs the local Legislature to act in order to make a move. He has also rejected the gambling industry’s arguments that the implementation of such a ban would hurt gambling revenue and would end up with the lay-offs of about 25% of the casino workforce.
According to political and market observers, Democratic leaders have stopped the progress of the anti-casino smoking measures until the November’s elections took place. All 120 seats in New Jersey’s Assembly and Senate are on the ballot.
According to CEASE leaders, employees at Atlantic City casinos are insisting on the implementation of smoking restrictions as soon as possible, and they no longer intend to wait for state lawmakers to enforce some new rules to move smokers outside and protect the health of all non-smoking workers and patrons who are currently forced to inhale second-hand air.