Legislation sponsored by Assembly Members Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey to prohibit smoking at public parks and beaches was approved Thursday by an Assembly panel.
The bill (A-3798) would expand the New Jersey Smoke-Free Air Act, which currently forbids smoking in indoor public places and workplaces, to apply to public parks and beaches throughout the state as well. The smoking ban would apply to any state park or forest, county or municipal park, or state, county, or municipal beach. Under the bill, exemptions would be made for any parking lot that is adjacent to, but outside of, the public park or beach; any golf course; or any area of a municipal or county beach, not exceeding 15 percent of the total area, that is designated as a smoking area.
“This can help make our beaches and parks more pleasant for visitors, help reduce cigarette butt litter and increase fire safety in these areas,” said Assemblyman Houghtaling.
“Our residents should not be subjected to secondhand smoke while enjoying New Jersey’s beautiful parks and pristine beaches,” said Assemblywoman Downey. “From obtrusive smoke to the litter smoking causes, we have an obligation to keep our natural spaces smoke-free.”
The bill was approved by the Assembly Tourism, Gaming and the Arts Committee. It goes before the full Assembly on June 7.