CEASE Releases “State of Casino Workers’ Health” Video Ahead of Governor Murphy’s Address
WATCH: Workers Call on Lawmakers to Close the Casino Smoking Loophole by April 15
“The State of Our Health is Poor, and It’s Past Time for the State to Address It”
January 10, 2023 | Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Trenton, NJ— As Governor Phil Murphy prepares to deliver his annual State of the State address this afternoon in Trenton, Atlantic City casino workers fighting to end indoor smoking released a video outlining the state of casino workers’ health and called on lawmakers to pass bipartisan legislation by April 15.
In the video, co-founders and co-leaders of Casino Employees Against Smoking Effects (CEASE), Pete Naccarelli, Nicole Vitola, and Lamont White deliver a clear message to legislators, especially leadership: it’s time to get these bills across the finish line.
“We are calling on the legislature to send a bill to Governor Murphy’s desk to close the casino smoking loophole by April 15. This date marks 17 years since the Clean Indoor Air Act took effect for most indoor workplaces – except for casinos,” Naccarelli says in the video. “This makes us essentially the only group of workers in the state forced to choose between our health and a paycheck….The state of our health is poor, and it’s past time for the state to address it.”
“Too many of us have been dealt diagnoses of cancer, heart disease, asthma and more,” says Vitola. “We’ve had to breathe this poison through pregnancies, while receiving treatment for cancer, and while wondering what exactly is happening to our health as yet another smoker lights up three feet in front of us, not giving a damn about our well-being. Twenty-three of 40 senators are co-sponsoring S264. Fifty-one of 80 assembly members are co-sponsoring A2151. These bills will pass easily. The only remaining hurdle is leadership. The legislature has the power to save lives by urging action on a popular bill that a strong majority of New Jerseyans support.”
“As Governor Murphy has said, ‘At the end of the day, we will still get good business. Atlantic City is an American gem. We’ve got the ocean and the other competitors don’t. And this is the right thing for our respective health.’ The casinos are stalling and will always find a reason for why now is not the right time. Enough already,” says White. “As we begin 2023 and the 17th year since legislators first created the casino smoking loophole, it’s long past time to prioritize the health of thousands of casino workers in Atlantic City who deserve the same healthy workplace as every other New Jersey employee. Let’s get this done by April 15.”
Watch the “State of Casino Workers’ Health.”
Legislation to eliminate the casino smoking loophole has earned more cosponsors than most other bills this legislative session in Trenton. It has been over 500 days since smoking returned to Atlantic City casinos and legislation to get rid of smoking is now cosponsored by 51 state assembly members and 23 state senators– a bipartisan majority in both chambers.
S264 and A2151 are identical bills that “[e]liminates [the] smoking ban exemption for casinos and simulcasting facilities.”
Governor Phil Murphy has repeatedly affirmed that he’d sign the legislation, most recently saying, “At the end of the day, we will still get good business. Atlantic City is an American gem. We’ve got the ocean and the other competitors don’t. And this is the right thing for our respective health.”
A report by Las Vegas-based C3 Gaming found that casinos without indoor smoking outperform their smoking counterparts and that Atlantic City would not lose gamblers to the handful of remaining eastern Pennsylvania casinos that allow indoor smoking. The United Auto Workers (UAW), the union representing Atlantic City casino dealers, is urging legislative leaders to advance bills to close the smoking loophole. UFCW Local 152, which represents 16,000 retail, manufacturing, and healthcare workers in South Jersey, eastern Pennsylvania, and Delaware, also supports eliminating the casino smoking loophole.
The leading organization dealing with gambling addiction has warned legislators that continuing to allow indoor smoking at Atlantic City casinos will only continue to encourage gambling addiction, but that passing bipartisan bills, S264 and A2151, to close the casino smoking loophole would help to address this concern.
Casino Employees Against Smoking (Harmful) Effects (CEASE) is a group of thousands of casino dealers and other frontline gaming workers that formed after indoor smoking returned on July 4th and is fighting to permanently remove smoking from our workplaces.