WATCH: AC Casino Workers Get National Attention for Fight to Close Smoking Loophole
More Perfect Union, a Workers' Rights Org, Highlights Casino Workers Pushing for New Jersey Legislators to Act
November 30, 2021
Atlantic City, NJ— Atlantic City casino workers are the focus of a new video produced by the national workers' rights organization More Perfect Union, which is drawing attention to their fight to close the casino loophole and protect their health at work. The video features interviews with four Atlantic City casino dealers and highlights inaction by New Jersey legislators to pass S1878/A4541.
"I've gotten a lung condition. My doctor said it could have come from being around secondhand cigarette smoke all the time," said Angela Martinelli, a dealer who uses a medical device called a concentrator to help her breathe at the casino. "So I use it when I walk because we have extended walking areas. For me to get from one place to another, I have to walk. And by the time I get there, I can't breathe."
"Why is my life not worth being protected?" asks Nicole Vitola, a dealer since 1999. "It's so hard to deal with smoke in your face when everyone else in this state doesn't have to deal with it, right? The law protects everyone else but us."
"Nobody's looking out for us," said Lamont White, a dealer since 1985. "When they brought smoking back on the Fourth of July, it was almost like a personal kick in the teeth."
"The biggest drawback in my business is the smoking, secondhand smoke, dealing with it," said Pete Naccarelli, a dealer since 1996. "I worry about [my health] every day because I have kids. Who knows what it's done to my lungs...I've never smoked a cigarette in my entire life, and I never will, but I can't imagine what my lungs actually look like. I'm almost scared to find out...If the casino says they're gonna make a couple extra dollars by having smoking -- okay, if that's true, is that worth my life?"
ABOUT AMERICANS FOR NONSMOKERS' RIGHTS
Americans for Nonsmoker’s Rights (ANR) is a member-supported, non-profit advocacy group that has been working for 45 years, since 1976, to protect everyone’s right to breathe nontoxic air in workplaces and public places, from offices and airplanes to restaurants, bars, and casinos. ANR has continuously shined a light on the tobacco industry’s interference with sound and life-saving public health measures and successfully protected 61% of the population with local or statewide smokefree workplace, restaurant, and bar laws. ANR aims to close gaps in smokefree protections for workers in all workplaces, including bars, music venues, casinos, and hotels. For more information, please visit https://no-smoke.org/ and https://smokefreecasinos.org/.