June 7, 2023 | Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Atlantic City, NJ— As distant wildfires continue to spread smoke and worsen outdoor air quality across the East Coast, Casino Workers Against Smoking Effects (CEASE) New Jersey released the following statement:
“Weeks like this are a stark reminder that too many Atlantic City casino workers are forced to breathe dangerous secondhand smoke at work. Smoking isn’t allowed on the beach or boardwalk, but smokers are welcome to smoke inside the casinos. As we work with smokers only a few feet away from us, we usually look forward to stepping outside on breaks for a breath of fresh air. Unfortunately, the air quality outside today is not much better than what we get inside the casinos.
“Just as fires hundreds of miles away can greatly impact our ability to breathe clean air on the Atlantic City Boardwalk, allowing indoor smoking in casinos has a major impact on workers and nonsmoking guests. It has been nearly two years since smoking was allowed back inside Atlantic City casinos. As many escape the smoke today by going inside their homes or smokefree offices, we continue to call on our elected leaders to pass legislation to close the casino smoking loophole and protect our health.”
An overwhelming 70 percent of the New Jersey legislature has cosponsored S264 and A2151, legislation to close the casino smoking loophole and protect the health of casino workers. The bills have earned 83 cosponsors in total, 26 in the Senate and 57 in the Assembly.
During a hearing in March held by the Assembly Health Committee and the Assembly Tourism, Gaming and the Arts Committee, members of CEASE testified before lawmakers to share their experience working in smoke for hours at a time and dealing with the extreme health consequences.
In February, casino workers and other supporters including the United Auto Workers, and representatives from several public health organizations testified before the Senate Health, Human Services, and Senior Citizens Committee. Majorities of each of the Senate and Assembly committees cosponsor the bill.
The legislation also has broad support from a range of organizations including the National Council on Problem Gambling, UFCW Local 152, American Cancer Society, American Lung Association, American Heart Association, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy has repeatedly said he will sign the legislation when it reaches his desk, saying “At the end of the day, we will still get good business. Atlantic City is an American gem. We’ve got the ocean and the other competitors don’t. And this is the right thing for our respective health.”
ABOUT CEASE Casino Employees Against Smoking Effects (CEASE) is a group of thousands of casino dealers and other frontline gaming workers that is fighting to permanently remove smoking from our workplaces. CEASE has chapters working to close the casino smoking loophole in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Kansas and Virginia.