The New Jersey Assembly on Monday passed 64-12 a measure which would ban smoking in almost all of the state’s bars, restaurants and other indoor areas, except for — you’ll love this — casino gaming areas.
A last-minute attempt to kill the bill by Assemblymen Joe Cryan and Neil Cohen, D-Union, failed, and Acting Gov. Richard J. Codey, who is set to leave office this month, said he would sign the bill.
It had previously been passed by the New Jersey Senate.
“This is a bad bill for business,” Cryan, whose family owns a restaurant affected by the ban, told the North Jersey Record.
Tom Schmierer, vice chairman of the New Jersey Restaurant Association, said that because nearly two-thirds of the state’s restaurants were already smoke-free, a ban was largely unnecessary.
“So this has already been dealt with for years by us, and it’s been fixed to an extent,” he said, adding that the ban was “a solution in search of a problem.” — New York Times
“It’s pretty much saying, ‘We don’t care about small businesses in New Jersey,'” said Clifton bar owner Melissa Fitzgerald.
The Assembly also passed a measure which would raise the minimum age to buy cigarettes to 19.
Well, there goes New Jersey. This is horrible for small businesses, many of which will almost certainly have to close in the face of this measure, and wonderful for the casinos, where many smokers will no doubt go and wind up gambling away their money, because the gaming tables are the only places left in the state where you can smoke.
Of course, anyone with any sense would have long since left the state, since it’s not much better than a toxic waste dump, but if you’re still there, it’s time to leave.
Update: Codey did indeed sign S1926, the New Jersey Smoke-Free Air Act into law on January 15.