For one year, Gary Scromo of Staten Island, New York, would either walk outside one of Atlantic City’s gambling establishments if he wanted to smoke a cigar or do without one if the weather condition was terrible.
Recently, he was again able to light up inside the gambling establishments as a year-long restriction, influenced by the coronavirus last July, expired.
” I strolled within and saw the ashtrays and understood: Smoking cigarettes is back,” he said.
Smoking is unquestionably back at the 9 Atlantic City casinos. Not everybody is happy about it, and even the state’s guv is hinting he may look positively on a cost that would permanently prohibit it inside the gaming halls. Democrat Phil Murphy stated last week, “I would be positive on that,” stopping short of declaring he would sign the legislation.
Cigarette smoking enemies are making a significant push to eliminate the so-called “gambling establishment loophole,” the one many exemptions to New Jersey’s law banning smoking cigarettes in the majority of indoor places, including bars and dining establishments. They held a rally recently on the Boardwalk contacting the state’s legal leaders and Murphy to enact a permanent smoking ban in the gambling establishments.
” In my 20 years as a casino dealer, I’ve seen a lot of my colleagues experience severe health concerns due to direct exposure to secondhand smoke,” a gambling establishment dealer, Nicole Vitola, stated at the rally.
Murphy raised the ban, which became part of a health emergency permitted to end as the state immunizes locals and case numbers decrease.
The scenario is now what it was before the pandemic: Gambling establishment customers can smoke on no more than 20% of the casino flooring, indications designate areas where cigarette smoking is enabled, and the gambling establishments have significantly invested in air filtration systems.
But cigarette smoking opponents state those systems are not the response, mentioning there is no healthy level of secondhand smoke.
Numerous gambling establishment executives declined to discuss the resumption of cigarette smoking at their homes this week.
Previously this year, the Casino Association of New Jersey, the trade group representing the Atlantic City casinos, said an irreversible restriction would do great harm to the industry.
” Prohibiting smoking cigarettes completely would have long-term financial ramifications for the region and the industry,” the group said in a declaration. “Going nonsmoking would put Atlantic City casinos at a competitive downside with other neighboring gambling establishments that allow smoking.”
Such a ban would result in fewer clients, fewer casino tasks, and lower tax income, it said.
Scromo, the cigarette smoker from Staten Island, said the existing arrangement is practical.
” There is a designated area where it’s allowed, and that’s it,” Scromo said. “Individuals don’t need to sit there if they don’t like it. I enjoy smoking at the gambling establishment when I play, but I’m generally at the fruit machine. I can see where at a table. The dealers need to stay there, so I do not smoke at the tables.”
Shay Trowery of Philadelphia is a cigarette smoker who recently started going to Atlantic City gambling establishments. She opposes allowing smoking cigarettes to return right now.
” I seem like COVID is still around,” she stated, adding it is impossible to inform whether a person has COVID-19 and could be spreading it through airborne smoke particles.
Baaqir Muta’ali of Atlantic City also smokes. However, he thinks it’s a bad idea to let it resume in the casinos.
” Secondhand smoke is bad; we all understand that,” he stated. “Even before the pandemic, I felt that cigarette smoking inside the gambling establishments was bad.”