|Atlantic City, NJ – Bipartisan legislation to eliminate the casino smoking loophole is gaining more support in the New Jersey Senate as former Governor and current state Senator Richard Codey (D-Roseland) today announced he is co-sponsoring S264. Codey, a member of Senate leadership, served as governor and signed into law legislation, the New Jersey Smoke-Free Air Act, in 2006 that prohibited indoor smoking in most public places.
“When I was Governor, we passed smokefree legislation that covered almost all of our state,” said Senator Codey. “Restaurants complained their businesses would suffer, but in fact, the opposite happened – customers loved the smokefree environment. The same will happen with the casinos. It’s past time that casino workers have the same protections as every other worker in New Jersey. We need to get this done.”
Codey is the eighth co-sponsor of S264. On January 12, the first full day of New Jersey’s current legislative session, six senators re-introduced S264 (previously S1878), which “eliminates [the] smoking ban exemption for casinos and simulcasting facilities,” protecting casino workers from exposure to dangerous secondhand smoke. The primary sponsors of the bill are Senators Shirley Turner (D) and Joseph Vitale (D), and, in addition to Testa, it is co-sponsored by Senators Patrick Diegnan (D); Teresa Ruiz (D), who is also the majority leader; Vince Polistina (R); and Vin Gopal (D). Last week, Senator Michael Testa (R-Vineland) signed on as a cosponsor.
“Governor Codey has long been a champion of healthy indoor air in order to protect workers’ health,” said Nicole Vitola, co-leader of Casino Employees Against Smoking’s Effects (CEASE), which has organized thousands of AC casino workers since smoking returned in July 2021. “We are grateful that he is adding his critical voice to our fight to finish the job that began in 2006. We deserve the same protections as every other worker in New Jersey.”
“Governor Codey has heard every single, tired scare tactic the industry can come up with – and he knows they aren’t true,” said Cynthia Hallett, president and CEO of Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights. “We applaud his leadership to protect every worker in New Jersey, recognizing that no one should have to choose between their health and a paycheck.”
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/.