AC casino workers respond to Gov. Murphy’s “Both Sides” comment on casino smoking

April 26, 2024 3:40 PM
  • CDC Newswire
April 26, 2024 3:40 PM
  • CDC Newswire

Atlantic City, NJ – Pete Naccarelli, co-founder of Casino Employees Against Smoking Effects (CEASE), released a statement in response to New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy’s recent remarks on ‘Ask Governor Murphy’ regarding the signing of legislation to close the casino smoking loophole: 

“There are not two equal sides in this fight. Governor Murphy should stop giving credence to casino industry scare tactics powered by alternative facts they manufactured through a report they bought and paid for. The only independent research using current data shows casinos would generate even more revenue without indoor smoking; and nearly 75% of Philly-area residents would be much more likely to come to AC casinos if they were smoke-free. The Governor’s consideration of this legislation should be informed by facts, not misleading sky-will-fall scare tactics that have been disproven over and over again. It’s time for Governor Murphy to show leadership in protecting our lives so we never again have to choose between our health and a paycheck.”

Listen to Gov. Murphy’s remarks here and see transcript below: 

Timestamp: [Fourth video down]

Guest speaker: My question is about the smoking ban in the casinos. I have been working closely with the group CEASE, who has been trying to get smoking banned legislatively, but since that wasn’t working out, they recently filed a lawsuit and I would just like to get your thoughts on it.

Murphy: I’m not a lawyer, Carolyn…My personal sense based on conversations with lawyers that this gets fixed, not in the courts, but by statute, by a law. And this is something that is obviously a highly charged situation.

Host: This is something that Senator Joe Vitale has tried to get.

Murphy: That’s right. If Joe’s listening, he’s going to be mad at me for saying that there are arguments on both sides because Joe doesn’t agree with me and I have a lot of respect for Joe, but want to make sure I say that clearly. I’m not speaking for him. The union that I believe pushed this suit is UAW, who represents dealers. They want to have it banned. Their argument is folks are smoking and blowing it right in their face and I get that. On the other side, the other big union, Local 54 of Unite Here – I’m pretty certain does not want it banned because they’re concerned it will impact the business prospects in Atlantic City. Whether there’s a compromise here or not, I don’t know, this has been kicking around for a long time. I have said in the past and I will reiterate today. If a bill gets to my desk, subject obviously to the details, but if a bill gets to my desk as it relates to banning smoking, I will sign it. I have said that now for going on seven years. It’s one where there’s a lot of passion on both sides.

Host: And this lawsuit actually names you personally as well as the Commissioner of Health.

Murphy: Not the first time, probably not the last.

Host: So there is a hearing that’s scheduled May 13th on this…stay tuned is in order.

Murphy: …I’m not a lawyer, but the lawyers with whom I’ve spoken to have said this gets fixed by statute, not in the court. So, we’ll see.


Casino Employees Against Smoking (Harmful) Effects (CEASE) is a group of thousands of casino dealers and other frontline gaming workers that formed after indoor smoking returned on July 4, 2021 in Atlantic City, NJ and has expanded to states around the country. CEASE is fighting to permanently remove smokingfrom our workplaces. For more information, visit