Dear Smokefree Air Supporter,
Big news: New Jersey just announced it will hold the first-ever hearing on a popular, bipartisan bill to close the casino smoking loophole. This hearing – set for February 13 in Trenton – means that Atlantic City casino workers are one step closer to not having to choose between their health and a paycheck.
It’s a historic moment in the fight to protect the health of thousands of New Jersey workers. They have waited nearly 17 years for this day. “This hearing is a chance to tell our stories — about the nearly two decades of diagnoses of cancer, heart disease, asthma, and more — that have convinced more than half of all legislators to co-sponsor the bills,” said Atlantic City casino workers and members of Casino Employees Against Smoking Effects (CEASE) in response to the news.
Even beyond New Jersey, efforts to close casino smoking loopholes in state laws and protect the health of casino workers are again gaining attention. The issue of indoor smoking has remained front and center in ongoing news coverage across the states, signaling momentum is at an all-time high for the worker-led movement to end smoking in casinos.
The grand opening of Rivers Casino Portsmouth in Virginia last week was overshadowed by concerns among guests about smoking indoors, with some saying they won't return until "they ban smoking." Here are a few comments from guests:
- “I will never come here again until they ban cigarette smoking inside this building,” -Beth Grimes
- “Had I known, I simply wouldn’t have come.” -David Spry
- “I think it’s backwards, archaic, disgusting, and I won’t ever come here again.” -Pam Francis
Meanwhile, in Pennsylvania, Greenwood Gaming & Entertainment opened a second smokefree casino, Parx Casino Shippensburg, and Ira Lubert-Bally’s Corp was awarded a gaming license for a smokefree casino in Centre County.
With momentum for this worker-led movement to end indoor smoking in casinos reaching new heights, ANR is focused on supporting workers as they fight for their right to safe working conditions. Would you consider donating today to continue supporting our efforts to ensure that no worker is forced to choose between their health and a paycheck?
With your support, ANR can sponsor groups such as CEASE and other casino workers as they take unpaid time from their jobs to meet with legislators and advocate for smokefree casinos. Here is how your donation can help get us across the finish line:
- $5-15 can pay for lunch for a casino worker heading to a rally
- $25-50 will cover travel and gas to a rally or hearing
- $75-100 will help pay for printing of handbills and signage
- $250-500 can contribute to promotional materials, digital advertisements and billboards
Thanks to ANR supporters and donors, we have sustained a strong and well-organized campaign that has gained traction and increasingly become nationally recognized as an important movement to protect the health of casino workers. With your support, we can get legislation across the finish line in New Jersey and Rhode Island and expand our work into other states where casino workers remain exposed.
Cynthia Hallett, MPH
President and CEO