18 towns in New Jersey already prohibit smoking on their beaches. A bill advancing in the legislature would ban smoking on all public beaches in the state.
Senate Environment Committee chairman Bob Smith says a statewide ban would prevent beachgoers from being exposed to second-hand smoke and end the litter problem from the tens of thousands of cigarette butts that are left on the beaches every year.
“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.”
New Jersey Sierra Club director Jeff Tittle says it’s also a safety issue
“There are times when I have seen on the beach where someone steps on a cigarette butt that wasn’t been put out properly and get a burn. And there’s been times when someone flips butts under boardwalks and there have been fires.”
Former Governor Chris Christie repeatedly vetoed bills to impose a statewide ban, saying it should be up to local communities to decide how to use their public spaces.
If Governor Phil Murphy goes along with the latest effort to make it a state law, violators would be fined $250 for the first offense and up to a thousand dollars for repeat violations.