TRENTON NJ (May 10, 1018)(CNBNewsnet)--Today the Senate Environment and Energy Committee released S2534 (Sweeney) which revises the "New Jersey Smoke-Free Air Act" to prohibit smoking at public beaches. Smoking bans are already in place in 18 towns including Asbury Park, Avon By the Sea, Barnegat Light, Beach Haven, Belmar, Cape May Point, Harvey Cedars, Lavallette, Long Beach Township, Long Branch, Longport, Point Pleasant, Sea Girt, Seaside Park, Ship Bottom, Spring Lake, and Surf City. New Jersey Sierra Club Director Jeff Tittel released the following statement:
“Now that 18 towns have banned smoking, it’s time to make a state law with this bill. Cigarettes are a health and environmental problem. Cigarettes are a major source of litter and pollution, while also being a threat to public safety. Cigarette butts can be thrown on the ground, burning people who step on them or possibly being ingested by children or creating a fire hazard. They can be ingested by animals and marine life or even children playing in the sand or at the park. Cigarette butts have been found in stomachs of animals like whales, sea turtles, and birds, which could lead to death. Cigarettes contain toxins like nicotine and pesticides in their plastic fibers further harming the environment. We need Governor Murphy to sign a statewide ban on smoking on beaches in New Jersey.
“After the state has spent millions of dollars restoring the shore after Hurricane Sandy our beaches and boardwalks will continue to be giant ashtrays trashing our environment and harming our public health. Cigarettes are bad for our health, our environment, and our safety and we applaud towns that take measures to prevent them. More and more cities and towns are taking initiative for smoking bans because allowing smoking in our public parks and beaches is a health and safety hazard. They must do this because Governor Christie vetoed legislation to make smoking illegal on all beaches three times by now. It shouldn’t be town by town, we need a state law.
“We shouldn’t be turning our beaches into ashtrays or clouds of air pollution. Secondhand smoke can lead to health impacts, lung cancer, asthma and infections. Children are playing on the beach and they are breathing in secondhand smoke. Cigarettes also present environmental and safety problems, especially with the potential for boardwalk fires. This bill is important because at least 90% of parks and beaches in NJ are municipal and county-owned. It’s imperative that we ban smoking on beaches to protect residents and tourist. No Butts about it, we still need a state law banning smoking on beaches.”