|In America, legislators have ended their relentless fight to protect casino workers from second-hand smoke by passing legislation that will outlaw smoking in Atlantic City’s eleven casinos.|
The nine members of the City Council approved an ordinance last week that will see smoking prohibited from October 15, doing away with earlier plans that would have allowed casinos to build separately ventilated and non-staffed smoking rooms.
'I can honestly say this is one of the most exciting days this city has seen,' said Scott Evans, Mayor for Atlantic City.
'It feels great when we can set public policy that can save lives.'
New Jersey banned smoking in all indoor commercial establishments except casinos in 2006 and this latest legislation ends an arduous battle by smoke-free proponents. In the face of strong opposition, the City Council watered down plans to implement a full smoking ban last year and instead went with legislation allowing smokers to light up on 25 percent of casino floors. The ordinance also required casinos to construct separately ventilated enclosed areas for smokers.
However, all but four of the city's casinos, Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort, Atlantic City Hilton Casino Resort, Trump Marina Hotel Casino and Resorts Atlantic City, had already initiated plans to stop smokers lighting up on the gaming floor.
'There's an industry out here that we have a responsibility to,' said Bruce Ward, Councilman for Atlantic City and a driving force behind the legislation. 'But we also have a responsibility to our visitors and our workers.'
The Casino Association of New Jersey had opposed previous efforts to enact a smoking ban and warned of huge losses if smokers shunned Atlantic City for casinos in states where smoking is permitted. According to the Press of Atlantic City, the Association issued a brief statement pledging to support the new law if ‘adequate time is permitted to comply’.