A new poll reveals that most New Jersey residents prefer fresh salt air to smoke on the state’s beaches.
The poll released Friday by Fairleigh Dickinson University found that 75 percent of New Jersey residents support a ban on smoking and vaping on public beaches. That number hasn’t changed since 2016 when the same question was asked.
“The right to enjoy a smoke free beach clearly outweighs respect for the rights of smokers,” said Krista Jenkins, professor of political science at Fairleigh Dickinson and the director of the poll. “There’s consensus on this issue among men and women, the young and old, and Republicans, Democrats and independents. They are all saying unmistakably to get those butts off our beaches!”
The poll also found that 77 percent of New Jersey residents intend to visit the shore this summer, up from 64 percent in 2016.
A bill to ban beach smoking and vaping passed by the state legislature last week is pending action by Gov. Phil Murphy. 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 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.
Phil Gregory contributed to this report.