Most of COVID-19 health-related restrictions have been lifted in New Jersey except for one. The suspension of consumption of tobacco inside gaming space. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy lifted other restrictions except the smoking in casino space.
The ban on indoor smoking is expected to expire on 4th July. In a press conference, Murphy indicated that he is considering legislation that would permanently outlaw casino smoking.
“Would I be open-minded, would I be constructive on legislation-because I need to do this statutorily-that could come to me in the future to extend that ban or make it permanent? I would be constructive.”
Anti-smoking advocates quickly respond to Murphy’s comment, adding that casino workers are in the dilemma of choosing between a paycheck and their health. Cynthia Hallet, the president and CEO of Americans for Nonsmokers’ right added that guests also endure secondhand smoke that does not get confined in the smoking sections.
However, the 2006 New Jersey Smoke-Free Air Act exempted casinos. The bill was designed to ensure employees have smoke-free workplaces, but casinos designated 25 percent of gaming space for smoking.
Casino Association of New Jersey opposes a complete indoor smoking ban noting that it would place Atlantic City casinos at a competitive disadvantage with nearby casinos.
The Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights unveiled a study that questions the effectiveness of casino filtration systems. The study revealed that no ventilation or air cleaning system adequately reduced the risk of tobacco smoke.
Contrarily, casino argues that air purification reduced tobacco chemicals from the air. Casinos have heavily invested in state of art air filtration systems to refresh the air.