Coalition of Public Health Groups Call on NJ Senate President to Put S1493 up for a Vote Before Adjourning for Summer

Americans for Nonsmokers Rights

Trenton, NJ—Before the New Jersey legislature breaks for the summer, Senate President Nick Scutari should call a vote on legislation to end the casino smoking loophole, says a coalition of New Jersey public health organizations in a new letter to the leader of the chamber.

The coalition of organizations urges the Senate President to advance S1493 to a vote in the Senate before the legislative session comes to a close. This call to action follows the passage of the bill in the Senate Health, Human Services, and Senior Citizens Committee in January and growing support among senators for the bill.

“As a coalition of organizations dedicated to public health and the well-being of workers, we are writing to urge you to advance critical legislation that will protect thousands of casino workers in Atlantic City from the dangers of secondhand smoke…We are deeply concerned about the ongoing exposure of these workers to toxic, cancer causing chemicals while all other workers in the state are protected from smoke and e-cigarette aerosol,” the groups wrote.
The letter highlighted not only the health benefits in closing the loophole, but the business benefits casinos and the state will gain with the passage of the bill.

“Closing the casino smoking loophole is not only beneficial for workers’ health, but it also makes good business sense,” the letter states. “By creating a healthier environment, casinos can draw in more patrons who may otherwise avoid establishments that allow smoking. This change will ultimately boost business, enhance the overall customer experience, and in turn contribute positively to the state’s economy.”

“It is worth noting that the current policy allowing indoor smoking in casinos has persisted for nearly 20 years, during which casino workers have been forced to choose between their health and their livelihood,” the letter emphasized.
The letter draws attention to the recent lawsuit filed by Casino Employees Against Smoking Effects (CEASE) and the United Auto Workers (UAW) against the State of New Jersey, challenging the exemption in the Smoke-Free Air Act, underscoring the immediate need for the Senate to address the problem without further delay or waiting the court’s decision.

The groups implore the Senate President to take decisive action in moving this legislation forward before the Senate adjourns. “We respectfully urge you to hold a full Senate vote on S1493 this month, before the Senate adjourns for the summer. By doing so, you will be taking a significant step towards reducing cancer risks, improving air quality, preventing heart disease, and ultimately saving lives,” the letter concluded.

Read the entire letter, which was signed by the following organizations: American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Heart Association, American Lung Association, Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights, and Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

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ABOUT AMERICANS FOR NONSMOKERS’ RIGHTS 
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.