Do not lift the smoking ban at New Jersey casinos, says the Atlantic City group. The casinos disagree.
When Governor Phil Murphy authorized the reopening of New Jersey casinos during the coronavirus pandemic, he did so with a few caveats: no dining room and no smoking.
Once limited indoor dining resumed, Murphy initially said that smoking in casinos could resume as well, but he quickly turned the tide.
Supporters of the smoke-free game want it to be so and took advantage of a Zoom press conference on Wednesday to say smoke-filled floors should be a thing of the past in Atlantic City and across the country.
“Casinos cannot be both a modern consumer industry and still allow smoking indoors,” said Cynthia Hallett, president and CEO of Americans for Non-Smokers’ Rights. “Most young people don’t smoke and are very health conscious.”
They are also aware of how the coronavirus is spread and smokers exhale, Hallett said
Casinos were exempt from the 2006 bar and restaurant smoking law, but Robert Zlotnick, co-founder of Smoke Free Atlantic City, said “no one is short of smoky bars and restaurants in New Jersey.”
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There is also current legislation to ban smoking in Atlantic City casinos.
The casino industry still wants to bring back smoking, with the Casino Association of New Jersey saying in a statement, “A permanent ban on smoking would have long-term financial implications for the industry and the region. Going completely smoke-free would put Atlantic City casinos at a competitive disadvantage compared to other nearby casinos that allow smoking. “
But Hallett said neighboring states are also banning smoking in their casinos, especially in response to the pandemic, so there won’t be other places nearby to go. She suggested that casinos ask their best customers if they prefer a smoke-free gaming floor.
“This regional competition argument is less and less of a problem,” she said. “Most of the players don’t go far from home. They want to play or have this entertainment in their own backyard. “
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