New Jersey may lessen penalty for smoking ban violators

 State capitol building in Trenton, New Jersey. (Alan Tu/WHYY)

State capitol building in Trenton, New Jersey. (Alan Tu/WHYY)

Violating bans on smoking in public places in New Jersey towns could soon result in a fine instead of a disorderly person’s charge.

The state Senate has given final legislative approval to a measure that Sen. Bob Gordon said will make the penalty less onerous.

“If the municipalities choose to enforce it, the penalties would be civil — as opposed to criminal,” he said. “It is currently mandated in the statute that it’s a low-level criminal offense, but still a criminal offense, and we thought that’s a bit excessive.”

Gordon said the change could cause towns to increase enforcement of their smoking bans.

  • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

It’s now up to Gov. Chris Christie to decide whether to sign the measure into law.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal