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New Jersey Anti-Smoking Advocates Compromise on Casinos 2006-01-15
With some hesitation, New Jersey lawmakers agreed to exempt casino floors from a state-wide indoor smoking ban.
Tom Grey, who is the executive director of the National Coalition Against Legalized Gambling, called the law �government at its worst.�
"What this is all about is government willing to not protect the health and welfare of their own citizens. In New Jersey's case, they want to keep the gambling proceeds there, so let `em smoke," said Grey.
Casino floor employees stand out as the losers of the new law. Atlantic City dealer Vince Rennich now has lung cancer, which he believes is from 25 years of standing in smoke- filled casino gaming rooms.
Many lawmakers said that they were not completely satisfied with the new law; that the exemption for casinos was a compromise measure. State Senator John Adler, one of the bill�s sponsors, said that he opposed special favors for casinos but that the bill never would have passed the Legislature at all without that stipulation.
"Two years ago, I couldn't get this bill considered in either house," said Adler, D-Camden. "I thought that that was as much as we could get, and the governor concluded the same thing."
Even the New Jersey Group Against Smoking Pollution supported the compromise. "We had a choice of protecting 98 percent of the people, or zero, and it was an easy choice," said Regina Carlson, who is the group�s executive director.
(By keren)