|Atlantic City, NJ – One-third of New Jersey senators are now co-sponsors of legislation to protect casino workers’ health by eliminating the casino smoking loophole after five more senators added their names to S264: Senators Andrew Zwicker (D); Jon Bramnick (R); Joseph Cryan (D); Fred Madden (D); and Robert Singer (R).
As of today, 13 of 40 New Jersey senators are either primary or co-sponsors of S264, an unusually high number that reflects broad, bipartisan support.
“New Jersey should not allow any worker to be subjected to cancer-causing secondhand smoke while on the job,” said Senator Zwicker. “I’m co-sponsoring S264 because it’s past time that we eliminate the casino smoking loophole and finally protect the health of casino workers. This is a common sense bill and an urgent matter for thousands of Atlantic City casino employees.”
“Smoking inside should no longer be acceptable in casinos,” said Senator Bramnick. “Employees have the right to breathe while working without the harmful effects of tobacco smoke.”
S264 (previously S1878) “eliminates [the] smoking ban exemption for casinos and simulcasting facilities,” protecting casino workers from exposure to dangerous secondhand smoke. The 13 primary and co-sponsors include nine Democrats and four Republicans and are as follows:
- Senator Joseph Vitale (D), Health Committee chair and primary sponsor
- Senator Shirley Turner (D), primary sponsor
- Senator Patrick Diegnan (D)
- Senator Teresa Ruiz (D), majority leader
- Senator Vincent Polistina (R)
- Senator Vin Gopal (D)
- Senator Michael Testa (R)
- Former Governor and Current Senator Richard Codey (D)
- Senator Robert Singer (R)
- Senator Fred Madden (D)
- Senator Jon Bramnick (R)
- Senator Joseph Cryan (D)
- Senator Andrew Zwicker (D)
“We are grateful that these senators have heard our plea and are prioritizing our health,” said Pete Naccarelli, co-leader of Casino Employees Against Smoking’s Effects (CEASE), which has organized thousands of AC casino workers since smoking returned in July 2021. “All we’re asking is to be treated like every other worker in the state of New Jersey. We refuse to continue choosing between our health and a paycheck.”
“The overwhelming, bipartisan support for protecting casino workers from secondhand smoke continues to grow,” said Cynthia Hallett, president and CEO of Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights. “In the year 2022, we know too much to allow any business to intentionally subject their workers to carcinogens. We applaud these senators for adding their name and helping to advance this critical legislation.”
A new video, “A Loophole in NJ Law Is Killing Casino Workers,” highlights the urgency of the casino workers’ fight to close the casino loophole.
ABOUT AMERICANS FOR NONSMOKERS’ RIGHTS
Americans for Nonsmoker’s Rights (ANR) is a member-supported, non-profit advocacy group that has been working for 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://no-smoke.org/ and https://smokefreecasinos.org/.