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Atlantic City Chamber member resigns over smoking ban protest in casinos

The Greater Atlantic City Chamber’s protest over a bill to ban smoking at casinos has suffered a blow, as one of its member organisations resigned in objection to putting “financial interests above health.” 

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The member in question, a public health agency known as Atlantic Prevention Resources, took umbrage at the Chamber’s decision to protest a potential smoking ban, which it had submitted in writing less than 24 hours earlier. 

The initial protest was made in the interests of enterprise and economic value, which the Chamber claims had been significantly damaged during the Covid-19 pandemic. It felt any ban on smoking would harm the recovery of Atlantic City’s casinos. 

Michael Chait, President, Greater Atlantic City Chamber, commented: “Recent efforts to impose a permanent smoking ban on Atlantic City casinos should be halted. A smoking ban would have a negative impact on the casino industry, resulting in significant job losses, decline in revenues, which in turn would hurt local businesses and vendors that rely on the industry for their economic livelihood.  

“A permanent smoking ban would put Atlantic City at a competitive disadvantage with casinos in Pennsylvania and Connecticut where smoking is permitted.” 

Less than a day later, Atlantic Prevention Resources cancelled its membership, stating it was unable to work with an organisation which prioritises money over the health of individuals. 

Bob Zlotnick, Executive Director, Atlantic Prevention Resources, said: “We highly value our membership in the Greater AC Chamber, but as a public health agency we cannot continue to be members of an organisation placing financial interests above health. 

“As a member of the local community, we would stand to be impacted by any loss in local business, but we cannot in good conscience put a price tag on the health of our families and neighbours.” 

A third of the New Jersey Senate has sponsored the bill to ban smoking in casinos, while the Governor, Phil Murphy, has previously confirmed he will approve the bill if passed by the Senate.


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