Not so smokin’

New Jersey recently banned smoking indoors–unless you’re in a casino. Proponents of the ban have said that it was a political move–they could not have gotten the measure passed with the combined clout of casinos, bars, and restaurants. So they picked off the bars and restaurants, and have now come for the casinos.

From Newsday:

The measure would expand the Smoke-Free Air Act that former Gov. Richard J. Codey signed into law Sunday, making New Jersey the 11th state to impose a smoking ban.

The law bars smoking from restaurants, bars and most indoor public buildings, but exempts gambling areas in Atlantic City casinos, tobacco retailers and cigar bars. It will take effect April 15.

The anti-smoking extension is the first bill to be sponsored by new Assemblyman Jim Whelan, an Atlantic City Democrat.

“It’s very simple. You treat everyone the same,” said Whelan, a former Atlantic City mayor. “We have a law right now that doesn’t treat everyone the same.”

Sen. Shirley Turner, a Democrat from Lawrence who is co-sponsoring the Senate bill, said, “it’s a horrible message to say it’s OK for casino moguls to poison the lungs of their workers with secondhand smoke because they have the political clout to buy a deadly exemption.”

Opponents of the new ban, including bar and restaurant owners, argued that allowing patrons to smoke in their establishments is crucial to business and that the exemption gives Atlantic City casinos an unfair advantage.

AC lawmaker moves to extend indoor smoking ban to casino floors —

Turner makes a good point, but the grammar police might argue that she is suggesting that the employees are the ones who have an exemption.

Poison might not be so far off the mark–there’s nothing like coming home after a tough shift and noting that your clothes are redolent with the odor of a known carcinogen.

I’ve been doing research in old copies of Fablulous Las Vegas, a weekly that touted the wonders of Vegas tourism back in the day. I stumbled across a crotchety editorial that bemoaned the do-gooders who had enacted a ban against smoking inside movie theaters. After all, smokers could sit still for three hours without lighting up, and taking a smoke break would cause them to miss the onscreen action.

It made me think, and I don’t think I can remember a time when people smoked in theaters. So I guess we got used to it.

On the other hand, even flying shrimp are apparently deadly, so where do you draw the line?

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