New Jersey Lawmakers Petition to Extend Temporary Ban on Smoking in Casinos Indefinitely
The decision to lift the temporary ban on public smoking in New Jersey casinos was met with stark opposition from the health-conscious lawmakers this week. Governor Murphy imposed the ban in July, taking into account health ramifications related to indoor smoking. Casinos were traditionally kept outside the purview of indoor smoking laws. However, the temporary ban was enforced to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Murphy’s decision to green-light indoor smoking in casinos, gyms, and restaurants was met with heavy criticism, forcing the Government to revoke the executive order shortly. However, Governor Murphy’s decision was primarily influenced by scientific research, which listed passive smoking as a viable avenue for virus transmission. Thus, the extension was announced until further orders.
This creates an ideal opportunity for the authorities to place a permanent ban on smoking in closed public places, just like the existing State legislature prohibits smoking on public beaches and parks. While Murphy’s original decision was rooted in nationalism, a permanent ban could be based on rational thought.
The Role of Smoking in Virus Transmission
According to the Governor’s earlier statement, the ban was merely a way of restoring existing law. The Legislature should take an active stand if a permanent ban is to be enforced. The temporary prohibition was issued as the authorities examined whether smoking increases the risk of COVID-19 transmission, compared to similar unmasked activities like eating or drinking in public.
The Governor did not have to wait long for the results, however. According to a study conducted by the World Health Organization, there is a possible correlation between smoking and COVID-19 transmission. Smoking also weakens the body’s immunity, increasing the chances of suffering cardiovascular diseases. Thus, worsening pre-existing conditions.
The WHO, furthermore, recommends all nations ban tobacco use permanently in all indoor and outdoor public places, including casinos, bars, restaurants, and gyms, as the war on COVID-19 continues claiming more human lives.
The Perks and Repercussions of a Permanent Ban
Cigarette smoke plays a decisive factor in virus transmission as studies show non-smokers project respiratory particles barely six feet away, while smokers can spread particles up to distances as far as 12-feet. This is a worrying figure, and the Government’s decision to ban public smoking could not have arrived at a better time. The temporary ban not only keeps casino workers safe but works in the interest of overall public health. The pressure is mounting to indefinitely extend the ban.
According to growing consensus, the decision to allow public smoking, especially in casinos, is driven by money and will inevitably lead to dire consequences if left unchecked. New Jersey Casino operators shouldn’t be skeptical, as there are over a thousand smoke-free casinos in the US alone, and business is just as usual.
The list includes every gambling house in Delaware, New York, and Maryland, which seem to be doing quite well for themselves despite the smoking ban. There is no reason to suspect any revenue loss. Maybe it’s time to implement a different business strategy. A tobacco-free environment would be good for health and the environment in the long run.