Recent reports show Atlantic City’s 11 casinos often fail to enforce New Jersey’s anti-smoking cigarettes laws.
There is no reason for the casino floors in Atlantic City to be exempt from the total smoking cigarettes ban that is enforced in every other workplace in the state. The casino industry claims that a total smoking cigarettes ban will hurt business; however, there is little evidence to back up this claim.
In 2008, the casinos in Atlantic City were smoke-free for one month beginning on Oct. 15. According to figures from the Casino Control Commission, the declines in revenues in October and November during the ban were less severe than they were in September and December, when smoking cigarettes was permitted.
All casinos in Delaware and New York are completely smoke-free and have suffered less drastic declines in revenue than casinos in Atlantic City during the recession. In fact, Yonkers’ Raceway is the top-grossing racino in the country.
According to the American Heart Association, about 22,700 to 69,600 premature deaths from heart and blood vessel disease are caused by other people’s smoke cigarettes each year. A total ban on smoking cigarettes in all areas of the casino will make for a healthier environment in the casino and reduce confusion about enforcement.
It is time that casino employees and patrons in Atlantic City enjoy the same protections from the dangers of secondhand smoke cigarettes that are afforded to all other workers in the Garden State.