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Vince Polistina

Posted on: December 13, 2023

Polistina Doubles Down on Protecting Casino Workers from Secondhand Smoke

Today, Senator Vince Polistina (R-02) announced his intention to propose a new bill to eliminate casino workers from secondhand smoke exposure after S-264 was removed from the Senate Health Committee agenda for Thursday, December 14.

“It is disappointing that after two years of advocating and building support with our colleagues, we still do not have the necessary support in the legislature to get a full smoking ban passed,” said Sen. Polistina. “I agree with others that the exemption probably shouldn't have been part of the original law. The casinos believe that they can meet our goal of eliminating employee and patron exposure to secondhand smoke with a structured plan and additional capital investment into their properties over the next couple of years. Given that their concerns about potential job loss and closures have resonated with some lawmakers, this is the direction I believe we need to go so that we don’t lose momentum on this issue.”

Sen. Polistina will be working on a bill that will provide for a compromise requested by the industry and some of our local labor leaders so that something can be done for our hard working casino employees.

Major components of bill will include:

  • Eliminating smoking at table games
  • Gradual reduction of smoking at slots with minimum distances where slots can be located from table games over an 18 month period
  • A stricter plan for additional capital investment over an 18-month period to construct areas which would allow smoking and a provision that would require employees to volunteer to work in the areas.

If enacted in early 2024, these measures will result in no smoking on the casino floor by the fall of 2025. This would strike a balance between the goal of protecting workers' health and the concern of an industry that is important to our region and state.

To speak with Sen. Polistina, please contact Kyle Fischer, SRO communications director, at [email protected].

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