N.J. lawmaker wants to expand smoking ban to boardwalks, marinas, racetracks

Proposal follows smoking prohibition at state beaches and parks taking effect in 2019.

People ride bikes and walk the Atlantic City boardwalk Memorial Day weekend, Saturday, May 28, 2016.

Smoking would be prohibited on the Boardwalk in Atlantic City — and boardwalks, boardwalks, marinas, historical sites, racetracks, amusement parks throughout New Jersey — under legislation introduced by state Sen. Shirley Turner. (WHYY file)

A New Jersey lawmaker wants to expand the reach of a ban smoking in outdoor public places following a new law that, as of January, prohibits smoking at state beaches and parks.

State Sen. Shirley Turner, a Mercer County Democrat, has proposed legislation expanding the ban to boardwalks, marinas, historical sites, racetracks, amusement parks, and other outdoor recreational and sports facilities.

“We know that secondhand smoke has a serious health effect. The greater majority of people are nonsmokers because they have gotten the message,” she said. “And I think people now are looking to avoid any contact with tobacco.”

Some facility owners may be concerned it would drive away business, Turner said.

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“I think health really tops revenue because we’re paying the price for that in the escalating costs of health insurance. So, it make sense that we look at the long term and the health implications,” she said.

When New Jersey first banned lighting up inside public buildings, it carved out an exemption for the casinos in Atlantic City.  They maintain up to one quarter of gambling areas for smoking.

There’s no indication when the legislature might act on Turner’s bill.

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