Assemblyman RAJ MUKHERJI
District 33 (Hudson)
Assemblyman HERB CONAWAY, JR.
District 7 (Burlington)
Establishes "James Nicholas Rentas's Law," revises "New Jersey Smoke-Free Air Act."
CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT
An Act concerning smoking at airports and amending P.L.2005, c.383.
Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
1. Section 4 of P.L.2005, c.383 (C.26:3D-58) is amended to read as follows:
4. a. Smoking is prohibited at the following locations: [in] an indoor public place, [or] a workplace, [or at], a public park or beach, and the outdoor passenger pick-up and drop-off area of an airport that is not owned or operated by a federal or military authority, except as otherwise provided in this act.
(cf: P.L.2018, c.64, s.3)
2. This act shall take effect 180 days after enactment.
This bill establishes "James Nicholas Rentas's Law," and revises the "New Jersey Smoke-Free Air Act." Under the bill, smoking is prohibited within the outdoor passenger pick-up and drop-off area of an airport that is not owned or operated by a federal or military authority.
The bill is named in memory of the late James Nicholas Rentas, a spirited, gregarious, and hardworking restauranteur and businessman who was a staple of the Bayonne community. Mr. Rentas smoked cigarettes for 30 years and possessed the determination and fortitude to quit smoking following a heart attack at age 50. He later died in 2007 after being diagnosed with colorectal cancer a decade after quitting cigarettes. Physicians attributed his death in part to tobacco use.
According to the American Cancer Society, smoking tobacco increases the risk of developing and dying from colorectal cancer. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study documented that secondhand smoke from designated smoking areas can infiltrate nonsmoking areas in airports, which exposes nonsmoking travelers and employees to tobacco smoke.
Secondhand smoke causes an estimated 34,000 heart disease deaths and 7,300 lung cancer deaths each year in the United States. Exposure to secondhand smoke from burning tobacco products causes premature death and disease including coronary heart disease, stroke, and lung cancer among nonsmoking adults. In children, it can cause sudden infant death syndrome, acute respiratory infections, middle ear disease, exacerbated asthma, respiratory symptoms, and decreased lung function.
While airports in New Jersey are subject to an indoor smoking ban, families are still exposed to secondhand smoke at airport curbs and while waiting at indoor baggage claim areas where secondhand smoke infiltrates from the outside.