ACS CAN Releases Poll Results Showing New Jersey Residents Want Smoke-Free Casinos

ACS CAN Releases Poll Results Showing New Jersey Residents Want Smoke-Free Casinos

TRENTON, New Jersey – November 18, 2021 – On the day of Great American Smokeout, an opportunity for smokers to make a commitment to quitting, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) released a survey showing overwhelming support for smoke-free casinos. smoke in New Jersey. Currently, casino employees and customers are exposed to second-hand smoke, which can make it more difficult to quit and may encourage people to smoke.

ACS CAN commissioned a poll of New Jersey voters in October 2021 on a variety of public policy issues, including whether or not voters support legislation that would protect the health of New Jersey casino workers by making New Jersey casinos free of charge. smoke.

The poll was conducted by TargetSmart, a leading national polling firm specializing in New Jersey politics.

The survey showed:

· By a 2-1 margin, voters support (60%) the permanent indoor smoking ban in New Jersey casinos and only 30% oppose it.

  • 7 in 10 voters (70%) would rather visit a smoke-free casino than one that allows smoking
  • Almost 9 in 10 voters (89%) agree that casino workers have the right to breathe clean, smoke-free air.
  • Voters of all partisan stripes and all demographics support the indoor smoking ban at New Jersey casinos.

“For far too long, the more than 22,000 workers at New Jersey casinos have been forced to choose between their health and a paycheck every day,” said Michael Davoli, senior director of government relations for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN). “These poll results reinforce the fact that not only are smoke-free casinos good for public health and good for business, but New Jersey voters agree it is time to make all casinos smoke-free.”

“In today’s extremely charged and polarized political climate, voters hardly ever come together with such unanimity behind an opinion on a matter of debate,” said TargetSmart pollster Ben Lazarus. “But when it comes to ensuring that everyone in New Jersey has the right to breathe smoke-free air, we identify in this poll one of those rare values ​​that unites Democrats, Independents and Republicans. “

Senator Shirley K. Turner (D-15) and MP Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-37) have defended state legislature legislation that would close the casino loophole and permanently ban smoking inside all New Jersey casinos.

“As we emerge into a ‘new normal’ in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, our priorities must be to promote policies in the interest of public health, which include banning smoking in casinos,” said sponsor of the bill Deputy Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D- England/ Teaneck). “Over the past year, casinos have successfully adapted to no-smoking operations. Now is the time to listen to our residents and make these changes permanent to ensure a healthier New Jersey in the future. “

“Smoking bans in indoor workplaces, as well as indoor and outdoor public places, recognize the need to protect the health of our residents from the dangers of second-hand smoke,” said sponsor of the bill, Senator Shirley Turner (D-Mercer / Hunterdon). Excluding casinos from the ban is not a punishment for casinos or smokers, but a means of providing casino workers with the same protection against toxic cigarette smoke that all other indoor workers enjoy in this state. At present, our policy of allowing smoking in casinos, but prohibiting smoking outside the doors of casinos on the boardwalks and beaches of Atlantic City, is not only inconsistent, it is reckless and unfair. towards casino employees. I am glad that the overwhelming majority of smokers in our state agree that casino workers deserve protection. These days, second-hand smoke shouldn’t be an occupational hazard. “

“We are happy that New Jersey voters agree that we shouldn’t have to choose between our health and a paycheck,” said Robin Vitulle, dealer supervisor in Atlantic City for over 36 years. “From our experiences, our customers have no problem going out to smoke because they have to go out everywhere else. Then they go inside and continue to play. We can no longer expect clean air in our workplace and urge lawmakers to finally act to close the casino loophole. “

“As a casino customer, I am deeply frustrated that I cannot enjoy the casinos in Atlantic City without coming home with my clothes and my hair stinking of tobacco.” said Elaine Rose, a non-smoker and long-time casino customer. “No-smoking zones are rarely, if ever, enforced, and the Atlantic City Health Department has rarely, if ever, issued citations to enlighten them. Even when I play exclusively in non-smoking areas, I often come home with my clothes and my hair stinking of tobacco.

The Smoke Free Air Act protects most of the New Jersey workforce and applies to almost all workplaces except casinos. Exposure of casino employees to second-hand smoke is a known health risk. Second-hand smoke contains over 7,000 substances, over 70 of which are known to cause cancer. The US Surgeon General has concluded that even separating smokers from non-smokers, cleaning the air and ventilating buildings cannot eliminate exposure of non-smokers to deadly second-hand smoke.

When Governor Murphy temporarily banned smoking inside casinos earlier in the pandemic, casino workers were able to breathe fresh air for the first time on the job.

Meanwhile, New Jersey casinos flourished even though they were all smoke-free. New Jersey casino revenues increased 30% compared to the same period in 2019. Customers were happy to go out to smoke, as they are used to doing so everywhere else, before returning to the casino.

“The facts are undeniable”, Davoli added. “Banning smoking inside casinos is good for the health of workers and good for business. State lawmakers are fortunate this year to pass legislation that will protect the health of New Jersey casino workers once and for all by passing S1878 / A4541.

“Fifteen years ago, New Jersey enacted the Smoke-Free Air Act which ensured that many workplaces were protected from second-hand smoke – but certain categories of workers have been left behind,” said Corinne Orlando, Director of New Jersey Government Relations, American Heart Association. “Gaps in anti-smoking protections that exclude casinos hurt those most exposed to second-hand smoke, the same people typically most affected by other social and health inequalities. It’s time for New Jersey to right this injustice and ensure the equality of casino workers by eliminating smoking in casino halls for good, and this poll shows strong public support for the change.

“The status quo that allows smoking inside Atlantic City casinos not only endangers the health of frontline casino workers, it also puts lawmakers opposed to closing the loophole.” casinos in disagreement with their voters ” said Cynthia Hallett, President and CEO of Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights. “It’s time to stop giving casinos a special break and prioritize the health of a diverse group of workers who deserve a safe work environment like all other workers in New Jersey, including gaming executives who breathe clean air in their offices. Now is the time to do the right thing, which is good for business too.

“All New Jersey employees deserve an equal chance to breathe smoke-free air. New Jersey people shouldn’t have to choose between financial security and their health, ” said Diane Litterer, CEO and executive director of the New Jersey Prevention Network. Supporting employee health is always the right decision. Through the Tobacco Free for a Healthy NJ (TFHNJ) program, the Working Well Tobacco Free initiative supports NJ employers and employees by educating them about the dangers of second-hand smoke by using TFHNJ Tobacco-Free Workplace Policy Toolkit. The toolkit supports employee health through education, policy change and resources to help quit smoking. You can find the TFHNJ Tobacco-Free Workplace Policy Toolkit and more at, “


About ACS CAN at 20

The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) makes cancer a top priority for decision makers at all levels of government. ACS CAN empowers volunteers across the country to make their voices heard to influence evidence-based public policy changes that save lives. We believe everyone should have a fair and equitable chance to prevent, detect, treat and survive cancer. Since 2001, as a nonprofit, non-partisan affiliate of the American Cancer Society, ACS CAN has successfully advocated for billions of dollars in cancer research funding, expanded access to care affordable and quality health care and made workplaces, including restaurants and bars, smoke-free. As we celebrate our 20th anniversary, we are more determined than ever to support our volunteers and save more lives from cancer. Join the fight by visiting

About this survey

TargetSmart designed and administered this mixed-mode survey of registered New Jersey voters, conducted October 14-19, 2021. Respondents responded to the survey via live phone calls conducted by professional investigators on landlines and mobile and online, recruited via an email solicitation corresponding to the TargetSmart voter roster. The survey reached 813 adults, aged 18 or older, who indicated they were registered to vote in New Jersey. The overall margin of error is +/- 4.0%. The margin of error for the subgroups is larger and variable. The data is weighted to be representative of the registered voter population in the state of New Jersey.

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