City Council Voted to Weaken the City’s Smoke-free Ordinance
N.J. Senate Health Committee Approves Smoke-free Casino Legislation
ACS CAN joins public health and labor groups in calling for the Assembly Health Committee to follow suit, taking decisive action to approve the bill as-is
TRENTON, NJ – JANUARY 29, 2024 – Today, the Senate Health Committee voted in support of closing the loophole for casinos in New Jersey’s Smoke-Free Air Act. The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) joined public health and labor groups in testifying at today’s hearing, highlighting the impact this bipartisan legislation can have on New Jerseyans’ health and that of the state.
When it was enacted in 2006, the Smoke-Free Air Act contained an exemption for casinos, enabling patrons to smoke inside the Atlantic City establishments despite the established risks associated with secondhand smoking. With the Senate Health Committee’s approval of Senate Bill 1493, New Jersey is one step closer to closing the casino loophole.
“Everyone has the right to breathe clean, smoke-free air, and no one should have to compromise their health for a paycheck,” said Quinton Law, Government Relations Director for ACS CAN in New Jersey. “We’d like to thank Senator Vitale for his leadership on this issue and the Committee members who voted in favor of Senate Bill 1493. ACS CAN is eager to see the Assembly Health Committee follow the lead of their Senate colleagues and move this legislation forward as is—with no amendments—to protect all workers and the public from the harmful effects of secondhand smoke exposure.”
There is a strong coalition of support for Senate Bill 1493 with public health organizations, like ACS CAN and American Heart and Lung Associations, joining forces with labors groups, the Casino Employees Against Smoking Effects (CEASE) and United Auto Workers UAW), to protect workers’ right to breathe clean, smoke-free air.
Consensus extends to New Jerseyans, many of whom have reported that they’d sooner visit the Atlantic City casinos if they were smoke-free, indicating that Senate Bill 1493 could shepherd in a revenue boost for the casinos.
“Public health and labor advocates have been waging this fight—to uphold the true promise of the Smoke-Free Air Act—for 18 years. Some of my fellow survivors, who’ve led this push, have seen this debate reach adulthood. I am glad the hold-up stops today with the Senate Committee’s vote and hope the progress will continue. The next milestone in this proposal should be its passage, not a 19th year,” said ACS CAN volunteer Stephanie Chapelliquen.
About ACS CAN
The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) advocates for evidence-based public policies to reduce the cancer burden for everyone. As the American Cancer Society’s nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate, ACS CAN is making cancer a top priority for public officials and candidates at the federal, state, and local levels. By engaging advocates across the country to make their voices heard, ACS CAN influences legislative and regulatory solutions that will end cancer as we know it.