With rising COVID-19 and respiratory illnesses in NJ, Senator calls for smoking ban in Atlantic City Casinos

ATLANTIC CITY, NJ – COVID-19 is once again on the rise in New Jersey and according to state health officials so are other respiratory illnesses including RSV. Both diseases attack the patient’s pulmonary systems and have the potential to cause significant damage.

While New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy focuses on his platform form of economic health-promoting economic wealth, one area he’s behind on his smoking in Atlantic City Casinos. Smoking has been banned indoors in New Jersey, but the governor continues to allow for smoking inside Atlantic City’s casinos, even as two respiratory illnesses are prevalent in the state.

Atlantic County Republican Senator Vince Polistina today asked Murphy, who is currently spending vacation time at his $7.3 million villa in Italy to reconsider his decision to permit smoking in Atlantic City’s casinos when he returns from his family vacation.

“I know that you agree that people’s health is paramount in these times and I have seen you quoted indicating that you would be open to permanently banning smoking in all indoor facilities including the Atlantic City casinos.  I agree with you that this is a critical issue in order to protect the health of the people of this state and support your efforts to protect employees and patron’s health,” Polistina said.

A bill calling for a smoking ban sits in waiting until the New Jersey Senate reconvenes in November after a nearly four-month break, but Polistina says casino workers can’t wait another three months for the state to act.

“I write to you on an important issue that I believe we should address as soon as is practical.  As you may have seen, Senate President Sweeney has indicated that he believes that the Senate is a static body which he adjourned from July 1st through November 2nd despite the many challenges being faced by our residents.  He has no intention to call the Senate into session despite the myriad of issues the Senate could be working on during the four (4) months where he has unilaterally decided that his time is better spent on politics rather than the people’s work,” he added. “Unless you can call the legislature back into session for passage of S1878, I believe an executive order to ban smoking in our facilities should be enacted until the legislature reconvenes.  We want to encourage people to responsibly utilize face coverings when appropriate.  Employees should not be faced with dealing with second hand smoke and their face coverings smelling like smoke their entire shift.  Indoor smoking should be eliminated so that we keep employees / patrons health and wellness as our top priority in these challenging times.”

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