New Jersey bans smoking on beaches and in parks, butt ...

Lawmakers stand by as New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, center, signs a bill banning smoking on parks and beaches on the boardwalk in Long Branch, N.J., Friday, July 20, 2018. Fines would start at $250 for a first offense and go up to $1,000 for a third offense for people smoking out of designated areas. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
A child plays on a makeshift ship during a beach outing, Friday, July 20, 2018, in Long Branch, N.J. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed a bill on Friday, banning smoking on beaches and parks. Fines would start at $250 for a first offense and go up to $1,000 for a third offense for people smoking out of designated areas. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Logan Eng, 2, right, plays with sand as his mom, Avia Eng, center, of Howell, N.J., and their friend Jenny Caruso, left, of Red Bank, N.J., look on during a beach outing, Friday, July 20, 2018, in Long Branch, N.J. Avia Eng said she's in favor of a bill signed by New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy banning smoking on beaches and parks because she doesn't want her child exposed to the smoke and trash left behind by smokers. Fines would start at $250 for a first offense and go up to $1,000 for a third offense for people smoking out of designated areas. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Lawmakers stand by as New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, center, signs a bill banning smoking on parks and beaches on the boardwalk in Long Branch, N.J., Friday, July 20, 2018. Fines would start at $250 for a first offense and go up to $1,000 for a third offense for people smoking out of designated areas. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Shareen Abdelnasser, of Sayerville, N.J., holds a cell phone while sunbathing during a beach outing, Friday, July 20, 2018, in Long Branch, N.J. Abdelnasser, who doesn't smoke, said she's in favor of a bill signed by New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy on Friday, banning smoking on beaches and parks. Fines would start at $250 for a first offense and go up to $1,000 for a third offense for people smoking out of designated areas. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

LONG BRANCH, N.J. — Gov. Phil Murphy has signed a bill banning smoking at the state's public beaches and parks, but local communities can opt out and set aside small smoking sections.

The Democratic governor on Friday signed a measure that was passed by the state Legislature last month. While advertised as a ban, it still leaves room for towns to permit smoking in designated areas of their beaches and parks.

Like previous versions of the bill that failed, the bill doesn't specify who would be responsible for enforcing it: lifeguards, police or someone else. Murphy said it shouldn't be lifeguards, but he left it to towns to decide enforcement measures.

"A lifeguard is there to save lives, first and foremost, for people in the water," Murphy said. "I don't want to add an extra burden to the lifeguard and take him or her away from their primary mission."

But state Senate President Steve Sweeney, who sponsored the bill, said lifeguards or local police could be called on to enforce the ban when people complain.

"We don't want to be disrespectful to people who smoke, but we want smokers to be respectful to everyone else who uses the beach, too," said Sweeney, a Democrat.

The ban, which takes effect in January, also prohibits vaping involving the use of electronic smoking devices on beaches or in parks. It allows towns to set up designated smoking areas of 15 percent of a beach or park. Smokers also would be allowed to light up in parking lots.

Fines would start at $250 for a first offense and go up to $1,000 for a third offense.

Karen Blumenfeld, executive director of Global Advisors on Smokefree Policy, or GASP, said more than half of New Jersey's more than 500 communities already restrict smoking and vaping on their beaches or in their parks.

People strolling on the Long Branch boardwalk generally supported the ban, even while expressing concern about the limited options available to smokers.

"Smoking is bad for everyone — people who smoke and people who don't," said Angelo Graci, who was riding his bicycle near the beach. "I used to smoke 40 years ago, but I stopped because I worked construction, and asbestos and smoking is about the worst combination there could be."

Lynne Grossman, of Monroe Township, disagreed with the ban.

"I think people should be able to smoke on the beach," she said. "They can't smoke almost anywhere else."

Leanora Cousins, of Franklin Park, said the law, as enacted, is a good compromise between the rights of smokers and nonsmokers.

"If you are someone who is bothered by smoking, if they set aside a separate area for smoking that should solve the problem," said Cousins, a former smoker. "There's not a lot of places people can smoke these days."

Cindy Zipf, executive director of the Clean Ocean Action environmental group, noted that volunteers picked up more than 29,000 cigarette filters from New Jersey beaches during two cleanups last year.

___

Follow Wayne Parry at http://twitter.com/WayneParryAC

___

This story has been corrected to show the name of the organization is Global Advisors on Smokefree Policy, not Global Advisors on Smoking Police.

People also read these

'American Horror Story' coming to Halloween...

Aug 17, 2016

The ghosts, vampires and other freaky misfits from "American Horror Story" are coming to Universal...

Explorers find 2nd-oldest confirmed shipwreck in...

Aug 17, 2016

A team of underwater explorers says it has found the second-oldest confirmed shipwreck in the Great...

Racers whip across Utah's famed salt flats after...

Aug 17, 2016

Thousands of racers have descended on Utah's famed Bonneville Salt Flats after two years of...

Officials: Zika won't hurt South Florida tourism...

Aug 20, 2016

The discovery of Zika-carrying mosquitoes in South Florida certainly isn't ideal for tourism, but...

Campaign, party officials insist Trump getting...

Aug 21, 2016

Top GOP and Trump campaign officials say Trump is getting back on track after some of the most...

Sign up now!

About Us

In The Headline sought to bring professionalism back into journalism, bringing you only the most exclusive and the most impactive news from all over the globe.

Contact us: sales[at]intheheadline.com