Assembly Members Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey have sponsored legislation that would extend the “New Jersey Smoke Free Air Act” by prohibiting smoking at public parks and beaches. The bill, which aims to protect not only the health of beachgoers, but the environment of New Jersey’s parks and beaches, has been approved by both houses of the Legislature and now awaits the Governor’s signature.
“Being representatives of shore towns and towns with beautiful parks and open space, it is so important that we look for ways to protect these spaces,” said Downey (D-Monmouth), “And with so many families from in and out of state visiting the Jersey Shore every year, it becomes a matter of public health.”
The bill (A-893) would amend the “New Jersey Smoke Free Air Act” to extend the prohibition of smoking to public parks and beaches in order to better preserve these natural assets. The act would take effect on the 180th day after enactment, and municipalities and counties would be allowed to set aside portions of beaches to be designated smoking areas, provided that those areas do not exceed 15 percent of the total area of the beach.
“Prohibiting smoking on beaches and in parks will reduce litter, increase fire safety, cut down on secondhand smoke exposure, and preserve our local environment,” said Houghtaling (D-Monmouth), “We hope that the Governor will sign this into law as soon as possible. It’s just simple common sense.”