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Turner, Vitale Casino Smoking Bill Gains Committee Approval


TRENTON – In an effort to protect the health and wellbeing of casino patrons and employees, the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee advanced legislation today sponsored by Senator Shirley Turner and Senator Joe Vitale to ban smoking in casinos.

“There are countless stories of casino workers facing grim medical diagnoses from being forced to inhale cigarette smoke day in and day out,” said Senator Turner (D-Mercer/Hunterdon). “Dealing cards or serving drinks should not be a death sentence. Even brief exposure to secondhand smoke has immediate adverse effects on the cardiovascular system and increases the risk for heart disease and lung cancer. We must protect our casino patrons and workers from the harms of secondhand smoke.”

The bill, S-1493, would remove casinos and casino simulcasting facilities from the list of designated exceptions to the “New Jersey Smoke-Free Air Act” to further extend clean air protections.

“When we banned indoor smoking it was intended to protect employees, patrons and others who were being subjected to the health hazards of secondhand smoke throughout their workday. Still, nearly 20 years later, casino workers have not been extended that same consideration,” said Senator Vitale, chair of the Senate Health Committee (D-Middlesex). “It is shameful it has taken so long but I am glad we are finally poised to do away with casino smoking once and for all.”

The bill was released from committee with a vote of 5-1 (2 abstentions).