I was in Atlantic City Friday night to see some boxing. I took my dad, my son and my brother, John. My dad was an amateur boxer in the 1940s. Rep, Jr., boxed in Vermont's Golden Gloves tournament. And John and me? Well, we follow the sport.
Fully expecting to be dismayed by the sleazy, tawdry surroundings that are synonymous with casinos and gambling, I was nonetheless taken aback by what I walked into at Harrah's. Smoke. Lots and lots of smoke. Cigarette smokers were everywhere, forming a veritable cancer on the casino landscape, if you will.
John told me Atlantic City's casinos had lobbied the city government to rescind its smoke-free environment laws a few years back. The casinos were losing too much money, he said. So, the local pols caved, smoking was re-established and the gamblers returned.
But, what about unsuspecting visitors like me? Second-hand smoke has been proven to cause cancer. Why should non-smokers have to wade through the 'resort's' toxic haze and inhale the carcinogenic fumes en route to the boxing matches?
Atlantic City casinos should be forced to place a warning on each and every one of their billboards, advertisements and digital promotions. I suggest a surgeon general's type warning that advises tourists they'll not only be assaulted by bright lights, eardrum-smashing music and the sight of sad, broken-down people feeding quarters into slot machines, but also enough second-hand cigarette smoke to wipe out an entire army. 'You are now entering a killing zone' would also work nicely.
And how about a billboard on the way out of Atlantic City that reads, 'Thank you for losing your money, seeing our B-level stars and inhaling our second-hand smoke. We are not responsible for your future heart and lung disease. Drive safely.’