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New Jersey moves closer to ban on smoking at public beaches

A Jersey Shore community is undertaking an innovation solution to a problem that has long plagued beaches: cigarette butts. (Big Stock photo)

A Jersey Shore community is undertaking an innovation solution to a problem that has long plagued beaches: cigarette butts. (Big Stock photo)

A bill passed by legislative committees in both houses of the New Jersey Legislature would ban smoking and e-cigarettes at public beaches and parks.

Many towns in New Jersey have already enacted such a ban, so going statewide makes sense,” said Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo.

“To make it a uniform code or state law, I think, it’s time has come. I certainly think that we know the ill effects of smoking, particularly second-hand smoke,” said Mazzeo, D-Atlantic. “The litter part is another problem.”

Mark Anton with the New Jersey Vapor Rights Coalition opposes including vaping products in the ban.

“Cigarette butts attribute for 38 percent of the (roadside) litter in the United States. Vaping does not contribute to this issue at all,” he said. “And it doesn’t  cause any second-hand issues like cigarette smoke would.”

The legislation allows towns and counties to designate 15 percent of their beaches as smoking areas. The ban would not apply to parking lots near beaches and parks.

If the measure gets final legislative approval and is signed by the governor, violators would face a $250 fine for the first offense, $500 for the second, and $1,000 for subsequent violations.

It does not specify who would be responsible for enforcing the ban.

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