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NJ may ban smoking in casinos

Insider BuzzInsider Buzz: NJ may ban smoking in casinos

Acting New Jersey Governor Richard J. Codey may use the power the position he stumbled into when Gov. McGreevey resigned last year to push an aggressive anti-smoking agenda, which would even include banning smoking in New Jersey casinos.

Codey's flip-flop on the smoking ban has restaurants, casinos, and small business owners upset.  The marketplace not the government  should decide if it makes sense to allow people to smoke in certain areas, they contend.

The proposal to ban smoking in most public places had been stalled in the Legislature for years but has gained momentum since New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg won acting Gov. Codey over to the antismoking cause, lawmakers say. Codey, who had opposed the bill, has called for strengthening the smoking ban by including Atlantic City casinos, which the current legislation would exempt.

Their inclusion could be an attempt by Codey to pressure casino owners to relent in their opposition to his proposal to allow video slot machines at the Meadowlands Racetrack in North Jersey. South Jersey Democrats in the Assembly who have fought Codey's video-slots proposal also oppose the smoking ban.

"The governor is not singling out the casinos," Codey spokeswoman Kelley Heck said. "It's just the opposite. If there is going to be a statewide smoking ban, he wants it to be comprehensive."

The New Jersey Smoke-Free Air Act, sponsored by Sen. John Adler (D., Camden), would prohibit - with certain exceptions - smoking "in all enclosed indoor places of public access and workplaces."

Casinos and restaurants oppose the ban.

In addition to casino floors and casino bars, the current bill would exempt social or fraternal organizations, cigar bars and lounges that make at least 15 percent of their income from on-site tobacco sales, and tobacco retailers.

Sen. Joseph Vitale (D., Middlesex), chairman of the Senate's health committee, said he planned to amend the bill to include casinos at a Monday hearing. He said he expected the legislation to pass the panel and be posted for a full Senate vote as early as March 21.

A push in the Senate

Including casinos "has always been something I believed was the right health policy," Vitale said. "You can't say secondhand smoke is dangerous in one area of the state and not in another."

He said he had let Codey know the bill would be amended to "meet our shared vision" but noted that exemptions for social clubs and cigar bars probably would remain. Whether the governor's interest is connected to his video-slots proposal "is not my concern," Vitale said.

Similar legislation that already includes casinos has stalled in the Assembly because the Democratic leadership there does not support it, Vitale added.

Seven states, including New York and Delaware, have smoking bans. A ban in Rhode Island took effect last week.

"The fact that less progressive states have gotten ahead of New Jersey is embarrassing," Adler said. "Kentucky grows tobacco, but Lexington has banned smoking. New Jersey can learn a lesson from Kentucky."

'Race with Philadelphia'

In Philadelphia, City Council appears poised to implement a citywide ban. Legislation may be introduced on first reading today and could come to a final vote as soon as next Thursday.

"We're in a race with Philadelphia," said Peter Slocum, an advocate with the American Cancer Society.

The decision to include the casinos in the Senate bill was cheered by Alfred R. Ashford, chief medical officer with the American Cancer Society of New York and New Jersey.

"By including casinos in this measure, the governor and the Senate will rightly extend the same protections to all workers in New Jersey and ensure that a person's ability to make a living in our state is not tied to his or her level of tolerance for cancer-causing toxins in the workplace," Ashford said in a statement.

Casino advocates said a smoking ban could hurt gambling revenue.

Rhode Island, for example, exempted gambling areas, and the Dover Downs racetrack and casino reported a 24 percent drop in income during the first year of Delaware's smoking ban.

Many have concerns

Audrey S. Oswell, president and chief executive officer of Resorts Atlantic City and head of the Casino Association of New Jersey, did not respond to a request for comment.

Lawmakers representing South Jersey have united on behalf of casino interests in the last week, opposing Codey's plan to allow as many as 2,000 video slots at the Meadowlands, which is in East Rutherford, Bergen County.

Sen. William Gormley (R., Atlantic), a longtime champion of Atlantic City casinos and a staunch opponent of video slots, issued a one-sentence comment on the smoking legislation yesterday: "I'd like to talk to Dick Codey."

The New Jersey Restaurant Association opposes a smoking ban, fearing it will hurt business.

Deborah Dowdell, the association's president, said that if a ban was implemented, there must be no exceptions. "We support a level playing field," she said.

Dale Florio, a lobbyist for the restaurant association, called the antismoking advocates "zealots," and argued that the the issue should be determined by the marketplace.

"A restaurant is not a public place," Florio said. "It's a place where the public is invited. A restaurant should have some flexibility to run how it wants."

Anti-smoking proponents assembled data from states with smoking bans, showing that restaurant business has increased.

In Massachussetts, revenue from the state's 5 percent meal tax rose after a smoking ban took effect July 5.

New York City's restaurant and bar business also has surged since its smoking ban took effect in 2003, but the city has experienced a general resurgence after the recession and the 2001 terrorist attacks.

Heck, the governor's spokeswoman, said Codey had discussed New York's ban with Bloomberg.

"People are starting to get that a ban doesn't hurt the economy, and it doesn't hurt restaurants or bars. Maybe it hurts the dry-cleaning industry, because people don't stink anymore," said Adler, noting he was the son of a dry cleaner. "I'm glad New York and Philadelphia are leading New Jersey in the right direction."

Philadelphia Inquirer

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16 comments. Last comment 12 years ago by Phokas.
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Coastal Georgia
United States
Member #2653
October 30, 2003
1866 Posts
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Posted: March 10, 2005, 9:49 am - IP Logged

Can we could get this passed and take it on to Biloxi and Vegas ?

I choke to death when trying to play my favorite games in casinos.

Sometimes I am lucky enough to find a slot or table w/o smokers, but sure enough, someone sits down beside me and fires one up and does not care where the smoke goes or even make an attempt to point the weapon elsewhere.

Yes,  I am discriminating against smokers. Me and about umpteen million others.

 

                               

              

 

 

    Avatar

    United States
    Member #9000
    November 25, 2004
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    Posted: March 10, 2005, 9:56 am - IP Logged

    We shall see! 

      Todd's avatar - Cylon 2.gif
      Chief Bottle Washer
      New Jersey
      United States
      Member #1
      May 31, 2000
      23267 Posts
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      Posted: March 10, 2005, 10:57 am - IP Logged
      Quote: Originally posted by DoubleDown on March 10, 2005

      Can we could get this passed and take it on to Biloxi and Vegas ?

      I choke to death when trying to play my favorite games in casinos.

      Sometimes I am lucky enough to find a slot or table w/o smokers, but sure enough, someone sits down beside me and fires one up and does not care where the smoke goes or even make an attempt to point the weapon elsewhere.

      Yes,  I am discriminating against smokers. Me and about umpteen million others.








      I guess you wouldn't want to sit at my table, as I work on my Cuban cigar!

       

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        Avatar
        Coastal Georgia
        United States
        Member #2653
        October 30, 2003
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        Posted: March 10, 2005, 2:58 pm - IP Logged
        Quote: Originally posted by Todd on March 10, 2005



        Quote: Originally posted by DoubleDown on March 10, 2005



        Can we could get this passed and take it on to Biloxi and Vegas ?

        I choke to death when trying to play my favorite games in casinos.

        Sometimes I am lucky enough to find a slot or table w/o smokers, but sure enough, someone sits down beside me and fires one up and does not care where the smoke goes or even make an attempt to point the weapon elsewhere.

        Yes,  I am discriminating against smokers. Me and about umpteen million others.







        I guess you wouldn't want to sit at my table, as I work on my Cuban cigar!


         

                                       

                      

         

         

          Avatar
          Coastal Georgia
          United States
          Member #2653
          October 30, 2003
          1866 Posts
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          Posted: March 10, 2005, 3:01 pm - IP Logged

          Nope.

           

          Second hand smoke is second hand smoke ........

           

                                         

                        

           

           

            Todd's avatar - Cylon 2.gif
            Chief Bottle Washer
            New Jersey
            United States
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            May 31, 2000
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            Posted: March 10, 2005, 4:23 pm - IP Logged

            Yup, with my stogie you'd get both 2nd- and 3rd-hand smoke!   


             

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              visiondude's avatar - eye3logo
              light on my feet
              United States
              Member #356
              May 20, 2002
              2744 Posts
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              Posted: March 10, 2005, 10:13 pm - IP Logged

              Quote: Originally posted by Todd on March 10, 2005



              I guess you wouldn't want to sit at my table, as I work on my Cuban cigar!





              i won't smoke mine where i know it offends someone,  but my all time favorite is a cuban montecristo #2

              also ...hoyo de monterey excalibur #3 maduro,  la gloria cubana wavell maduro,  puros indios piramid #2 maduro, onyx black robusto.  need i go on ...?

              one of my all time favorite memories is smoking a cigar with my son at the masters golf tournament.  ohhhh yeah.

              but i do respect the rights of non smokers as i can't stand to smell cigarette smoke.  what a hypocrite i am (lol).

              VDQPLS

                          "i am .........."meant to"       

              P.S.,  that RJoH  is a stand up guy.  thanks,  vision

                       until further notice,  it's  france everyday

                Avatar
                detroit/michigan/usa
                United States
                Member #12322
                March 11, 2005
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                Posted: March 11, 2005, 8:55 am - IP Logged

                 

                I think that a more beneficial attitude would to require casino's to install air filtration systems or offer gaming rooms that are smoke free...........Me?.....a nice concert topped off with a run downtown to the casino with a nice cuban sound great!

                  Todd's avatar - Cylon 2.gif
                  Chief Bottle Washer
                  New Jersey
                  United States
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                  May 31, 2000
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                  Posted: March 11, 2005, 9:21 am - IP Logged

                  Vision & DetroitJazzMan - sounds like you both have good taste in cigars.  My favorite is a Cuban Cohiba Toro, which is about a 50 ring size, slightly longer than a robusto.  Comes in an aluminum tube.  I'm not into the super-long Churchhill-sizes.

                  Good advice on the filtration systems - I agree.

                   

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                    Sandy K's avatar - graphic pub.jpg
                    Clarkston, Michigan
                    United States
                    Member #76
                    January 6, 2002
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                    Posted: March 11, 2005, 9:45 am - IP Logged

                    Well, I feel everyone has a freedom of choice.........you don't have to go to the casino...............it's your choice to go............don't go if you don't like the smoke.....next they will outlaw liquor because somebody doesn't like the smell or the way people act when they drink and people are afraid they will hurt in a ruckus (sounds like nonsense doesn't it, because it is). I will bet you good money that putting an exclusive non-smoking restaurant against a exclusive smoking restaurant, that the exclusive smoking restaurant will make more money.  Adequate ventilation installed, of course...........but the restaurants, casinos should have that choice....it's not the government's choice to make decisions that affect their livelihood.

                    Simple solution, if you don't like smoke, don't go..............and I am sure a million or more people feel the same way................

                    I feel my rights are as equal to non-smokers rights..........hey maybe we should outlaw excrement in the john because it smells....and some doctors say the smell is bad for you..........that is what it is becoming...............we are getting more like a communist government all the time.............When I pay for a service, I don't like restrictions that are government issued.........look at Dunkin' Donuts....they banned smoking (at least here they have), and now they are all going under.........hey, people like their cup of coffee and cigarette in the morning.............you don't like the smoke, stay home.- have your coffee home................businesses are suffering and so is the economy because of it.  So the whiners of secondhand smoke should not be whining about the raises they get, or the prices at the grocery store, etc. 

                    By the way Todd and Dude, my husband smokes those cubans cigars....2 a day............he used to smoke a pipe...I loved the smell of pipe tobacco....

                    When my husband and I have a choice of Jersey or Las Vegas....used to be toss up.............now I guess it is Vegas exclusively..........do you know how much revenue New Jersey is going to lose?  And do you know how they recoup that money..........yup, higher taxes...............

                    So all you people who complain about smoking, you are getting hit in the pocketbook.......big time......and it will be more in the future.........don't say you weren't warned.

                    Sandy

                      JAP69's avatar - alas
                      South Carolina
                      United States
                      Member #6
                      November 4, 2001
                      8790 Posts
                      Online
                      Posted: March 11, 2005, 3:31 pm - IP Logged

                       

                      I do not like the fact that a product is taxed more than the retail value of the product. Such as tobacco.
                      There should be a limit on the tax on any product.
                      I get cigarettes in S.C. for about 24 dollars a carton. New york gets about 45 dollars a carton. Make any sense. Sin tax they call it in N.Y.

                      They ought to tax disposable diapers at 200% to cover landfill costs too.

                      MAGA

                        LOTTOMIKE's avatar - cash money.jpg
                        Tennessee
                        United States
                        Member #7853
                        October 15, 2004
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                        Posted: March 11, 2005, 4:17 pm - IP Logged

                        i have noticed that at the first sign of someone not liking something they'll get a lil group together to ban whatever it is they don't like,in 20 years we won't be able to blink our eyes because its offensive,lol

                          ineed9million's avatar - scene sunovermountains.jpg
                          Philadelphia, PA
                          United States
                          Member #11436
                          February 13, 2005
                          176 Posts
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                          Posted: March 12, 2005, 7:12 pm - IP Logged

                          smoking bans are idiotic.  i understand and agree with smoking bans in certain places such as shopping malls, department stores, restaurants, etc...but to take smoking away from bars and casinos is taking things too far.  non-smokers are not forced to go into a bar or casino were smoking has been taking place since the inception of most of these establishments.  most casinos have non-smoking levels or areas where non-smokers can gamble without having to be around smoke....thats fine..,.but implementing smoking bans on casinos and bars will not only decrease revenue for these places but result in smokers standing outside the entryway to the establishment they are not allowed to smoke inside of causing cigarette butts to pile up on the ground and smoke to be inevitablely blown into the face of everyone who walks inside anyway.

                            Todd's avatar - Cylon 2.gif
                            Chief Bottle Washer
                            New Jersey
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                            May 31, 2000
                            23267 Posts
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                            Posted: March 12, 2005, 7:25 pm - IP Logged

                            Other than the occasional stogie, I'm not a smoker, but I am against banning smoking from all public areas -- especially casinos.  The biggest reason for my opposition to a ban is that I think outright bans are an example of intolerance.  I think it is hypocracy to go around saying that people must have choice (for example, a woman's right to choose), yet be intolerant of people's choice in other issues like smoking.

                            I say let the marketplace decide.  If something makes sense to do, 99% of the time people will naturally gravitate toward that solution in the end.  But it is the people's choice if that 1% of the time they do not want to do what "makes sense".

                             

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