The New Jersey Smoke-Free Air Act went into effect 15 years ago – back when Netflix was still mailing out DVDs and more than a year before they began streaming online and before Apple released the first iPhone. This law protects people in almost all workplaces - including bars and restaurants - from the dangers of secondhand smoke from cigarettes and cigars as well as aerosol from e-cigarettes. Workers and patrons across our state are protected, with one glaring exception: casinos.
hero_image_alt_text===Tobacco-Free Workplace sign
thumbnail_alt_text===Tobacco-Free Workplace sign
If you have trouble remembering what it was like to work in a smoke-filled environment back before you could binge-watch your favorite show or carry an iPhone in your pocket, join our efforts to protect the more than 20,000 employees in New Jersey’s gaming industry. Complete the form on the right to get involved and speak up for those who have been denied this basic protection that most others of us in the Garden State enjoy. Casino employees shouldn’t have to choose between providing a paycheck for their families and protecting their physical health.
The scientific evidence is clear: there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke. Secondhand smoke causes serious diseases and premature death among nonsmokers. That’s why ALL workplaces and public places, including restaurants, bars, AND casinos should be smoke-free. Everyone should have the right to breathe clean air at work.
The pandemic had one “silver lining” for casino employees: when casinos reopened in July 2020, cigarette and e-cigarette use was not allowed indoors. It should not have taken a global pandemic to provide casino employees with a safer and healthier work environment. However, the restriction was temporary, and workers will once again be faced with working in smoke-filled establishments this summer. New Jersey’s leaders wasted a perfect opportunity to make a seamless transition to permanently smoke-free casinos and ensure that casino employees continue to have the same protection as other workers in our state.
Smoke-free casinos are good for business. In addition to the benefits of a healthier workforce, the trend toward smoke-free casinos is growing across the country – 1100 casinos nationwide do not permit smoking indoors. New Jersey casinos have been operating smoke-free and at a lower capacity during the pandemic. In the first quarter of 2021, New Jersey gaming revenues increased 30% over the pre-pandemic numbers for the first quarter of 2019. They are doing much better than many other areas of the hospitality sector. There is no reason why they should be exempt from a law that the rest of the hospitality industry has been following since 2006 to protect the health of their workers.
I urge you to contact your lawmakers in Trenton and ask them to permanently close this loophole and ensure a safer, healthier environment for our friends, families, and neighbors who work in New Jersey casinos and are exposed to hazardous secondhand smoke every day.
Join our efforts to make casinos safer and healthier for employees and patrons! Complete the form on the right of the message to lawmakers and we will keep you informed on our progress and ways you can get involved!
Thank you for your action to keep our casino workers safe from secondhand smoke. This protection is long overdue.