A coalition of anti-smoking groups is urging lawmakers in New Jersey to enact a statewide ban on smoking at parks and beaches.
Former state Health Commissioner Fred Jacobs is the chairman of the coalition New Jersey Breathes and is behind the effort to get lawmakers to create the ban.
Jacobs says banning smoking in outdoor public places would send a message to young people that smoking is not an acceptable social activity.
“Every kid that doesn’t start is a kid that doesn’t have to stop,” Jacobs told reporters Wednesday.
“It’s a kid who deprives big tobacco of a revenue stream, and it’s a kid who doesn’t become one of the 168,000 kids in New Jersey who will die prematurely because of smoking issues.”
WHYY’s Phil Gregory reports advocates expect there will be opposition to the proposed ban but say it could help reduce tobacco-related diseases that add to the costs of health care.
Blair Horner, vice president of the American Cancer Society told Gregory the health of young people is a major consideration.
“This is part of sort of what the scientists call denormalizing the smoking experience. If you don’t see it anywhere, you don’t experience anywhere, and you see that the public is unwilling to accept it indoor or outdoor, teens are less likely to smoke,” Horner said.
What do you think of a proposed ban on smoking at parks and beaches throughout the Garden State? Do you think a ban will help to send a strong message to the public? How would you handle this issue? Tell us in the comments below.