Three Republican candidates in Atlantic County are advocating for a permanent ban on smoking in casinos in Atlantic City, supported by large donations to New Jersey Democrats from cigarette giant Philip Morris.
Don Guardian, the former mayor of Atlantic City, and Claire Swift, Deputy Attorney General are vying for Assembly seats, while Vince Polistina (R-Egg Harbor Township) is running for Senate.
On September 5, 2020, Phil Murphy, the Governor signed an executive order prohibiting smoking at casinos in Atlantic City, which was in effect until July 4, 2021. According to the Guardian, casino income increased in 2021 by 10% compared to the same period in 2019.
Swift also believes that by prohibiting smoking, Atlantic City will become a more family-friendly destination. According to her, a smoking ban in casino buildings will undoubtedly persuade people to return to Atlantic City as a vacation destination.
According to records filed by the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission, Philip Morris donated $36,500 to Senate and Assembly Democrats and $22,000 to GOP leadership organizations.
Altria has long been a Princeton Public Affairs’ buyer Company, which is run by Dale Florio, a key strategist to Republican Jack Ciattarelli’s effort to remove Gov. Phil Murphy.
Murphy advocated raising cigarette taxes significantly in 2019. Ciattarelli, on the other hand, was fiercely opposed.
The nine casinos in Atlantic City have reintroduced smoking. However, not everyone is thrilled about it, and the state’s governor has hinted that he would support a bill that would make it illegal to gamble inside casinos forever.
Smoking opponents are working hard to close the so-called “casino gap,” which is the one main exception to New Jersey’s smoking ban in most indoor settings, including restaurants and bars. They conducted a rally on the Boardwalk last week, urging Murphy and the state’s legislative leaders to establish a permanent smoking ban in casinos.