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The Anti-Smoking Group says Atlantic City Casinos should remain smoke-free

Posted on April 29, 2021, 10:28 a.m.

Last Updated: April 29, 2021, 12:41 PM.

Devin O'Connor

Smoking in Atlantic City casinos is still prohibited in the New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy's Orders (D). Some people want to keep gaming floors that way.

Atlantic City casino smoking ban
Smokers stand in front of the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino on the Atlantic City Boardwalk last September. Smoking ban supporters want the current smoking ban in indoor casinos to become permanent. (Picture: Atlantic City press )

Murphy's executive order for nine Atlantic City gambling facilities temporarily prohibits smoking and vaporization in indoor casinos. Visitors must go outside and visit designated areas to catch fire.

The Americans for Nonmokers' Rights (ANR) is taking the opportunity offered by COVID-19 to permanently extinguish indoor smoking in Atlantic City. Casinos in the city were exempted from the 2006 state law, which banned smoking in public venues, including restaurants and bars.

During yesterday's Zoom event hosted by ANR, anti-smoking advocates called on casinos in Atlantic City and across the country to ban smoking and vaping while gambling indoors.

Casinos cannot be a modern mainstream industry at the same time and still allow smoking indoors " Said Cynthia Hallett, president and CEO of ANR. "Most young people do not smoke and are very health-conscious."

New Jersey-based Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Englewood) is drafting legislation that would end a casinos restriction that excludes gambling from the 2006 state's indoor smoking ban. It plans to introduce such legislation soon.

No smoking traffic increase

ANR says it's time for New Jersey and Atlantic City to join many others, says commercial casinos do not allow visitors to smoke inside.

Nine states do not allow any indoor casino smoking. These are Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Ohio, and South Dakota. Six others - Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island - have at least partial areas of their casinos where smoking is prohibited.

From the beginning of the pandemic, states have ordered smoking in indoor casinos to be suspended. With COVID-28 being a respiratory virus, health officials across the country have raised concerns that cigarette smoke and other vapors may spread the coronavirus more easily.

COVID-19 is also believed to cause more serious complications for smokers than non-smokers.

“More and more casinos across the country are becoming smoke-free. At least 160 independent tribal gaming venues have implemented a 100 percent smoking ban during the COVID-19 period, 23 require commercial casinos to be smoke-free indoors, and nearly 1,100 gambling venues are not allowed to smoke indoors "- ANR statement to Casino.org .

“Opinion polls are routine and increasingly show that the vast majority of visitors prefer smoke-free indoor casinos. This is not surprising given that 90 percent of young adults are non-smokers ", added edition.

Industry objection

The Casino Association of New Jersey (CANJ) says ANR's mission is to ban smoking in an indoor casino forever could do much to harm the industry. CANJ lobbies on behalf of nine casinos in the capital city of Trenton.

The industry body says a total smoking ban would have "long-term financial implications" for Atlantic City casinos. They argue that this would put gaming centers at a competitive disadvantage compared to other nearby casinos.

In neighboring Pennsylvania, casinos can allocate up to 50 percent of their smoking area. As in New Jersey, Pennsylvania's Clean Air Act 2008 passed makes smoking illegal in restaurants, office buildings, schools, sports facilities, theaters, most bars, and various other public places. But the law did provide for the partial separation of casinos.

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