On April 15, 2006, New Jersey lawmakers passed a law that banned smoking in most public building buildings in the state.  The law, which is known as the New Jersey Smoke-Free Act, was supposed to improve the health of New Jersey residents by lessening the effects of secondhand smoke.

There were very few exceptions to the law.  New Jersey casinos were among the establishments allowed to provide smoking areas within their confines. The thought at the time the law was enacted was that if they forced casinos to ban smoking, it would have a negative impact on their ability to attract patrons.

Through the years, the state and local municipalities have steadily added more places where smoking is banned.  Parks, and beaches as well as many other public outdoor areas are now no smoking zones.

One area where public smoking continues to be allowed is the casinos.  That may be coming to an end.

Casino workers have been complaining for years about the exemptions.  The workers complain that they are subject to serious health issues, caused by breathing in secondhand smoke while they work.

There are currently bills under consideration in both houses that would put an end to smoking in casinos.  It's a complicated issue with strong feelings from all the affected parties.

Casino officials as well as a local casino union, argue that putting a ban in effect would have a negative impact on business,  Meanwhile, a group of casino workers who are organized as, Casino Employees Against Smoking's Effects, strongly support a ban, and Governor Murphy has said he supports the ban.

While the talk of a ban has heated up recently, it should be noted that this debate has been going on for as long as the original law put into effect 17 years ago.

New Jersey lawmakers weighing vote on casino smoking ban (pressofatlanticcity.com)

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