Atlantic City’s Reaction To The Smoking Ban

Ending a battle that lasted more than a year, the City Council voted to end the last major loophole to a tough statewide ban on smoking in public buildings that had conspicuously exempted gambling halls.But patrons still will be able to light up in unstaffed smoking lounges away from the table games and slot machines if the 11 individual casinos choose to build them. The ban takes effect Oct. 15. Smoking would still be permitted in enclosed smoking lounges where there would be no gambling.

New Jersey’s Smoke-Free Air Act took effect April 15, 2006, prohibiting smoking in restaurants, bars, office buildings and other indoor spaces. It carries fines of $250 to $1,000 for people who light up and businesses that let them. The one exception then: Atlantic City casinos, which argued that a smoking ban would drive away business.

Although, New Jersey’s Smoke-Free Air Act took effect April 15, 2006 had the casino exemption, anti-smoking groups generally supported the state law, even while vowing to work to include the gambling halls later on. Now the city, through a local ordinance, is poised to give them what they’ve been seeking. About two dozen casino workers held a rally on the Boardwalk on Tuesday to support the City Council proposal. Smokers will be able to continue lighting up in New Jersey’s 11 casinos but will have much less room in which to do it, after the City Council passed a compromise law by restricting but not banning smoking on the gambling floor. It prohibits smoking on 75 percent of a casino floor but requires that 25 percent of the floor space be set aside as smoking areas. The council had considered a total ban on casino smoking, but it backed down under extreme pressure from the casino industry, which said it could lose 20 percent of its revenue and 3,400 jobs.

8% of smokers as well as former smokers who were surveyed revealed that they tried to quit because of a smoking ban. There is clearly something telling smokers that they should try to quit, as 43% of the 27,000 smokers and former smokers surveyed stated they tried to quit from 2006 to 2008.The attempts are there, and smoking bans only helps that further as they are not as prone to light up a cigarette if regulation does not allow them to do so in places where they live.

The full smoking ban was to take effect 90 days after being signed into law by Evans. But just before the vote, a compromise was reached between council members and casino officials to extend the deadline to Oct. 15, 2008 to have the smoking lounges built.

There was mixed reaction to a full smoking ban among some other patrons of the seaside resort. Some smokers forced to not to smoke as because the full ban’s becoming law and some of them are not interested in visiting Atlantic City no more and they wish to fit out to Places like Las Vegas where smoking is allowed.

Every year an estimated 53,000 Americans die because of exposure to secondhand smoke, say health experts, and that’s not to mention the hundreds of thousands who develop serious diseases as a result — cancer, asthma and heart disease. So far,18 states have passed laws banning smoking in public places, but sometimes special exemptions in those laws make the bills all but meaningless.

A ban on smoking should not deter people who enjoy casino entertainment from smoking – rather it will give them a reason to choose to play in a casino in a neighboring state. A ban on smoking will for sure put New Jersey at a competitive disadvantage, as neighboring states will benefit from New Jersey’s loss.