Smokers forced to ‘butt out’ in Jersey

By Daina Havens
April 6, 2006

Shane Evans

Summer “down the shore” this year will be budding with change after the New Jersey Smoke-Free Air Act takes effect on April 15. The act will prohibit smoking in specified public places because New Jersey legislature agreed that tobacco smoke is a significant threat to the health of the majority of non-smokers, according to a synopsis of the act.

New Jersey will be the 11th U.S. state to pass this law, beginning in 1998 in California, and most recently occurring in 2005 in Washington.

“If they did it in New York, they can do it in Philadelphia,” senior English and communication major Kelsey Kuhwald said, in support of the possibility of the law moving into Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania is currently one of many states that is considering introducing this smoking ban to its many public restaurants, bars, transportation outlets, health care facilities, recreation areas and any public gathering and workplace, according to

“To me, it’s purely a health issue,” senior education major, Maureen Cieri said. Even in dealing with asthma, however, Cieri would be against the segregation that may be included with banning public smoking in Pennsylvania.

Delaware and New York passed this law in 2002 and 2003. New York in particular has had great success, according to Governor George E. Pataki’s announcement of the second annual independent evaluation of New York’s anti-smoking and tobacco control program, released on Oct. 25, 2005.

The independent report found that smoking is on the decline in New York, along with teenage smoking at a rate of 32 percent. That exceeds the national rate of 27.5 percent over a five-year period. It was also announced that $5.8 million has been awarded to statewide community organizations to promote the advancement of countering tobacco advertising, and to continue to help smokers quit.

“We remain vigilant in our commitment to helping smokers quit, further reducing the public’s exposure to second-hand smoke, and making our children aware of the dangers associated with smoking,” Pataki said, according to the report.

New York resident and senior accounting and finance major, Claudia Sciandra said, “I think it has been a success. A lot of people are satisfied, and companies haven’t lost business.”

Senator John H. Adler, the senate sponsor of the Clean Air Act in New Jersey, is very positive about the health effects that this change will have upon N.J. residents. “I feel strongly about the health aspects of this new law. In fact, I believe this is the single, most important piece of legislation I have had the privilege of sponsoring since I have been in the Senate,” Adler said. This bill directly benefits and protects the people, and Senator Adler is happy to have been a part of its progress and anticipated success.

Jim Hogan, a long-time bartender at Atlantic City’s Trump Marina Casino, said, “Every server in my room can’t wait.” Although certain areas of Atlantic City’s casinos are exempt from this law, it will still have an effect on many who work within the casino bars and restaurants. Hogan added that, even smokers hold their cigarettes away from them to avoid breathing their own smoke, and he sees this as a positive change for all those affected by smoke in their places of employment.

“Smokers choose to smoke and that’s our decision,” senior secondary education major Alison Livingston said, and added that smoking is somewhat like watching television; if you don’t like it, change the channel or walk away.

There are clearly mixed opinions on the subject, however, the entire world has taken action against second-hand smoke, including Tanzania, Thailand, Turkey, Vietnam, and many more countries, with Wales following close behind with a smoking-ban in progress.

From as early as 1976, Thailand has banned smoking in public areas due to the harmful effects of second-hand smoke, according to, which is a website focusing on the positive effects the smoking ban has had on the residents of Scotland.

According to Physician’s New Digest, in an article entitled “Philadelphia smoking ban long overdue”, “The public health calculation is that second-hand tobacco smoke is the second leading preventable cause of death among nonsmokers.”

“The bottom line when it comes to health improvements is to take what you can get and never give up. I see a tremendous improvement in the quality of the lives of thousands of New Jersey residents who will breathe easier and live longer,” Adler said.

As for Philadelphia residents, Pennsylvania legislature is momentarily torn. More information is available at about the New Jersey smoking ban.

Posted to the web by Shane Evans

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Daina Havens

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