Tuesday, June 03, 2014

New Jersey GASP Pushing Legislation that Would Ban Electronic Cigarette Use on Every State Beach, But Allow Casino Workers to Inhale Huge Amounts of Secondhand Smoke to Make a Living

Do anti-smoking groups have any sense of perspective? The answer appears to be "no" based on the latest news out of the Garden State.

New Jersey GASP is pushing for state legislation that would ban smoking everywhere on college campuses, including in remote alleys and parking lots and would ban electronic cigarette use on a remote area of a beach, but allow smoking to continue unencumbered in crowded Atlantic City casinos, where hundreds of workers are suffering debilitating diseases because of their secondhand smoke exposure.

According to a NJTV News article: "More towns are banning smoking at the beach in New Jersey. Global Advisors on Smokefree Policy (GASP) Executive Director Karen Blumenfeld told NJTV News Managing Editor Mike Schneider that GASP really wants a 100 percent smoke-free environment in public places."

The Rest of the Story

GASP may want a 100% smoke-free environment in public places, but it said nothing in the entire news interview about the real public health problem in New Jersey: secondhand smoke exposure in the state's casinos. Moreover, while GASP is promoting legislation to get rid of every last wisp of smoke on entire college campuses and to ban electronic cigarette use in remote areas of a beach, the legislation that the group is supporting allows smoking to continue unabated in the state's casinos, where hundreds of workers are suffering from real diseases brought on by secondhand smoke exposure.

Were I a casino worker in New Jersey, I would be pissed off that GASP is supporting legislation to protect the public from the imaginary public health threat of deadly secondhand smoke exposure on beaches and in college parking lots, while that very legislation does nothing to protect me from the very real threat I face every day from the devastating effects of 40 hours or more per week of high levels of secondhand smoke exposure.

According to ANR: "The average level of cotinine (metabolized nicotine) among nonsmokers increased by 456% and the average levels of the carcinogen NNAL increased by 112% after four hours of exposure to secondhand smoke in a smoke-filled casino with a "sophisticated" ventilation system."

In contrast, I'm not aware of a single study showing that banning smoking everywhere on college campuses or on beaches is necessary to protect the public from any substantial public health threat.

Perhaps I wouldn't be so bothered by this attempt to protect the public from every last wisp of smoke on beaches if state politicians had some integrity and were willing to also protect the state's citizens who need it the most: New Jersey's casino and gaming workers.

The rest of the story is that GASP as well as New Jersey politicians who are pretending to show a genuine concern for the public's health are actually showing little but hypocrisy and political cowardice. In 2014, I don't see any need for this kind of public health nonsense.

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