As legislation that aims to extend New Jersey's indoor smoking ban to Atlantic City's casinos remains dormant, a poll out of Stockton University suggests that most adults would be in favor of a totally smoke-free casino experience.

In the statewide poll of 640 New Jersey adults, 62% said they support a smoking prohibition on casino floors. Thirty-one percent indicated that they'd be opposed to the move, and 6% were unsure.

"There's still a majority in South Jersey supporting the ban, but it's slightly lower — 59% in South Jersey would support it," said John Froonjian, director of the William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy at Stockton.

Two-thirds of folks in North Jersey (Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Hunterdon, Morris, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex, Union, and Warren counties) would like to see a smoking ban at the nine Atlantic City casinos.

"There are more people who are dependent on the casino industry for jobs in the south, and the casino industry has said that if this ban goes into effect, they will lose revenue and that will translate into job losses," Froonjian said.

Casino workers have said that revenue shouldn't be the focus of this debate — instead, it should be the health of employees who could be forced to breathe in smoke for several hours straight during their shifts on the floor.

United Auto Workers, one of the two major casino workers' unions, wrote a letter in April to legislators asking them to hold hearings on a proposed law that would get rid of the casino exclusion from New Jersey's smoke-free rules.

The other union, Local 54 of Unite Here, has urged lawmakers to not move forward with the proposal, suggesting that a ban would result in lost jobs, less tax revenue for the state, and less money for senior programs.

Dino Flammia is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at dino.flammia@townsquaremedia.com

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