2024 C. Everett Koop Unsung Heroes Award Recipient: CEASE (Casino Employees Against Smoking Effects) Casino Workers

In our work to create a tobacco-free future, many people work nonstop to prevent kids from using tobacco and help smokers quit. The C. Everett Koop award honors the individuals who work to change policy to prevent kids from starting and help tobacco users quit. These unsung heroes are the ones who make a tobacco-free future possible by working to end the tobacco epidemic. In 2024, the American Lung Association is proud to recognize CEASE as the recipient of the C. Everett Koop Unsung Heroes Award. 

After the emergency pandemic smokefree casino protections were lifted and smoking returned to their workplace, three casino workers - Pete Naccarelli, Nicole Vitola, and Lamont White- said “enough is enough” and started a group called Casino Employees Against Smoking Effects or CEASE. Within a few weeks, thousands of Atlantic City casino workers had joined CEASE. There are now state CEASE chapters in Florida, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.  CEASE leaders and advocates are creating change throughout the casino industry with legislation introduced in several states.

The American Lung Association is proud to recognize CEASE as the 2024 C. Everett Koop Unsung Hero award recipient. CEASE leaders and members are frontline casino workers including table games dealers, slot techs, cleaning staff, and security officers. Many earn the minimum wage. With no background in politics or public health, these individuals have become seasoned spokespeople in the press and advocates with legislators. They have used their personal time to attend hearings, rallies, media events, and meetings with lawmakers and legislative staff in their efforts to achieve permanent smokefree workplace protections.

Nominations for the 2025 C. Everett Koop Unsung Heroes Award will open in the late winter/ early spring 2025. Please check back then for more information.

Page last updated: May 8, 2024

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