It's déjà vu all over again.
Sen. Joe Vitale, D-Middlesex, along with Sen. Shirley Turner, D-Mercer are leading the latest crusade against smoking in New Jersey casinos.
A similar bill died last year without a vote, but as New Jersey 101.5's Dino Flammia reports, there is more bipartisan support this time around to include casinos under New Jersey's smoke-free law.
Gov. Murphy has gone on the record as saying, "If legislation can get to my desk, that would allow us to do that, I will sign it."
The information that's out there in regards to the dangers of smoking tobacco is at an all-time high, and that's a good thing. Smoking rates continue to decline drastically among young people.
New Jersey has gone out of its way to isolate smokers as much as possible; whether by way of smoking bans on the beaches and boardwalks or designated smoking areas in public places. With what we know now, it's a step in the right direction that we have some of these measures in place.
But sometimes when you give an inch, New Jersey takes a mile.
Casinos in Atlantic City have adjusted to modern smoking laws. There are areas on the casino floor that are blatant about being designated smoking sections. If you light up in a non-smoking area, in most instances you will be asked to move or put it out within 30 seconds.
Oftentimes when you pass through these smoking sections, you don't smell cigarettes or cigars unless you're mere inches away from a smoker. The air circulates on casino floors in such a way that people who find smoking reprehensible are usually none the wiser.
Workers who spend a majority of their time on the casino floor may face increased exposure to smoke and other harmful chemicals, and their concerns are valid. But smoking is part of the casino experience for some people, and like it or not, it comes with the territory. Employees who are offended by the idea of being around smokers would be better off looking for a job somewhere other than a gambling pit.
And if you're the gambling type but you can't stomach being near someone smoking, you now have the option of downloading an app and betting on your smartphone from your couch to scratch the itch.
Imposing a ban on smoking could have negative financial implications on New Jersey's casino hub, putting them at a competitive disadvantage with other casinos in places like Pennsylvania, where smoking in casinos is not nearly as big of an issue. And let's face it, at this point, Atlantic City needs every advantage they can get.
The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 producer, writer, and host Joe Votruba. Any opinions expressed are his own.