TRENTON – Senator Joseph F. Vitale, D-Middlesex, the Chairman of the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee, issued the following comments regarding the Committee’s approval today, by a vote of 7-0 with 1 abstention, on the “New Jersey Smoke-Free Air Act,” which would restrict smoking in nearly all indoor workplaces, including casinos and restaurants:
“Today, we took a significant step forward in the fight for cleaner air in New Jersey. By approving the ‘Smoke-Free Air Act,’ my Committee has taken a stand, passing a bill which would spare New Jerseyans the health risks associated with inhaling second-hand smoke.
“Smokers have to make a conscious choice every time they light up, but so many people in their immediate vicinity, including children, who are more negatively impacted by cigarette smoking than adults, are forced to live with the bad decisions of others. The idea that smokers are only affecting their own health by smoking in a crowded room is quickly becoming as antiquated as the once-popularly held belief that smoking had no negative side effects whatsoever.
“In committee today, we heard from many of the opponents of a smoke-free New Jersey that there should be a ‘level-playing ground,’ and I couldn’t agree more. All businesses, whether they cater to gamblers or gourmands, whether they can afford the most expensive air filtration units or no filtration, need to abide by the same standards when it comes to indoor smoking — and that standard should be zero-tolerance for behavior that puts everyone’s health in jeopardy.”