July 5, 2023 | Contact: ceasesmokingpress@gmail.com

Atlantic City, NJ— July 4th marks the two-year anniversary since Atlantic City casinos brought smoking back inside after going smokefree indoors during the height of the pandemic. Casino Employees Against Smoking Effects (CEASE) New Jersey released the following statement:

“As we approach the busy summer season, Atlantic City casino employees are marking two frustrating years since the State of New Jersey allowed smoking back into our workplaces. In those two years, thousands of casino workers have joined our worker-led movement to fight for a healthy, smokefree workplace.

“We are again calling on New Jersey lawmakers to do the right thing and close the casino smoking loophole, because our lives depend on it. This spring, many of us testified in Trenton to share our stories of being forced to work in the smoke and the impact on our health. An overwhelming majority of lawmakers favor legislation to make casinos smokefree indoors and Governor Murphy is ready to sign it into law.

“It’s time to get this done. We deserve to do our jobs without compromising our health. We hope lawmakers treat this issue with the urgency it deserves because every day we are forced to choose between our health and a paycheck.”

Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights (ANR) has supported the efforts of CEASE for the past two years as they fight to close the smoking loophole.

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 (Casino Employees Against Smoking Effects) 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.”

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 JerseyPennsylvaniaRhode IslandKansas and Virginia.

Sister organization to the ANR Foundation, Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights (ANR) is a member-supported, non-profit advocacy group that has been working for over 45 years, since 1976, to protect everyone’s right to breathe nontoxic air in workplaces and public places, from offices and airplanes to restaurants, bars, and casinos. ANR has continuously shined a light on the tobacco industry’s interference with sound and life-saving public health measures and successfully protected 61% of the population with local or statewide smokefree workplace, restaurant, and bar laws. ANR aims to close gaps in smokefree protections for workers in all workplaces, including bars, music venues, casinos, and hotels. For more information, please visit https://nonsmokersrights.org and https://smokefreecasinos.org.