FREEHOLD – Senator Ellen Karcher, D-Marlboro, the Vice Chair of the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee, issued the following statement regarding reports that a leading anti-smoking activist, Vince Rennich, was fired from his job as a supervisor at Tropicana Casino and Resort, a week after testifying before the Senate health panel on the need for a comprehensive indoor smoking ban which affects casinos:
“Mr. Rennich knows firsthand the dangers of second-hand smoke. A non-smoker and employee of the Tropicana for 26 years, he attributes his diagnosis of lung cancer two years ago to the unhealthy conditions on the gaming floors.
“He shared his experiences in dealing with the health effects of second-hand smoke during a recent hearing of the Health Committee on a bill to ban smoking in all indoor workplaces in New Jersey, including casinos. I thought his testimony was key in underscoring the human price of inaction on a casino smoking ban.
“For his efforts to stand up for other casino employees against a very powerful industry, he was fired from his day job at the Tropicana.
“To me, and to many other New Jerseyans watching this episode, this smacks of blatant retaliation against a whistleblower who courageously stood up for the health and well-being of others.
“The Tropicana’s actions serve as the ultimate injustice against a man who has chosen to fight for the good of others. I hope that casino gaming patrons see this for what it is, and denounce any whistleblower retaliation perpetuated by a casino industry that often feels it’s above the protections outlined in the law.”