Employees, gamblers say they want smoking ban in casinos

Atlantic City (AP) — In pleas ranging from impassioned to coolly professional, more than a dozen casino workers and gamblers on Wednesday urged officials in this gambling mecca to extend New Jersey’s seven-month-old smoking ban to the places they work and play.

Dealers, servers and gaming supervisors described smoke-filled workspaces, stinking clothes and respiratory problems as they encouraged the Atlantic City Council to clear the air by removing casinos from the short list of indoor public places where cigarette smokers can still light up in New Jersey.

„We’re just asking you to give us the same rights you gave the rest of the state,“ said Linda Tittermary, a Harrah’s server. „My kids have the right to have a mother.“

The council heard an hour’s worth of testimony from people encouraging the council to ban smoking in Atlantic City’s 13 casinos.

Wednesday was the first of two public hearings on the proposal. A vote is scheduled for Dec. 29, and — if smoking opponents have their way — a ban would take effect 20 days after being signed by the mayor.

The measure would strengthen the statewide smoking ban that took effect in April but exempted casino floors. State lawmakers put a provision into the statewide ban allowing cities and towns to adopt tougher regulations on their own.