New Jersey will have Smoking- free beaches

New Jersey will have Smoking- free beaches

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TRENTON, NJ(TIP): Legislation sponsored by Senate
 President Steve Sweeney, Senator Vin Gopal and Senator Bob Smith that 
would ban smoking on New Jersey’s beaches was approved by the Senate, 
June 7.  The bill, S-2534, would prohibit smoking on all public beaches 
by extending the existing provisions of the “New Jersey Smoke Free Air 
Act” to public beaches throughout the state.

The legislation was amended to extend 
the smoking ban to state, county and municipal parks, making it 
identical to the Assembly version. Approved by both houses, the measure 
now goes to the governor.

“This is an issue that impacts the 
environmental quality of the Jersey Shore, the health of beachgoers 
exposed to second-hand smoke, the quality of life for residents and 
visitors, and ultimately, the economic well-being of Shore communities,”
 said Senator Sweeney. “We don’t want our beaches littered with 
cigarette butts, the air polluted with smoke or the ocean wildlife 
exposed to threat of discarded cigarettes.”

“The Jersey Shore has always been one of
 New Jersey’s most treasured natural assets,” said Senator Gopal. “We 
have the best beaches and the most desirable beachfront communities in 
the country – and we want to keep it that way.  They have environmental 
and economic value that should not be lost or damaged by the ill effects
 of smoking on the beach. This legislation ensures that our beaches will
 be free of cigarette butts and our lungs free of smoke.”

“It’s time to get smoking off the 
beach,” said Senator Smith, chairman of the Senate Environment 
Committee. “Not only do you have a nice beach for you and your kids and 
your grandkids, but you’re also cutting down the costs of maintenance 
for towns on the beach in terms of keeping them clean.”

Cigarette filters are among the top 
types of litter collected from beaches, according to environmental 
advocates, who collected an estimated 25,000 cigarette filters from New 
Jersey beaches in “beach sweeps” last year alone.

The smoking ban would not include beach 
parking lots and it would allow municipalities to designate up to 15 
percent of a beach for permitted smoking, according to the legislation.

In 2005, under the original “New Jersey 
Smoke Free Air Act,” the Legislature found and declared tobacco smoke to
 constitute a substantial health hazard to the nonsmoking majority and 
found it in the public interest to prohibit smoking in most enclosed 
indoor places of public access and workplaces. This bill amends the 2005
 law to extend the ban to state, county, municipal beaches and state 

A violation of the proposed law would 
include a fine of not less than $250 for the first offense, $500 for the
 second offense and $1,000 for each subsequent offense.  It would take 
effect 180 days after enactment.


Nationwide, more than 300 coastal 
communities have banned smoking on their beaches, according to the 
American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation. In New Jersey, an increasing 
number of beach communities have enacted local smoking bans on their own
 in recent years, with at least 19 towns enacting the prohibition.


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