Smoking Restrictions on Agenda in Surf City

Other Island Towns Have Already Passed Similar Measures
Feb 20, 2019
Photo by: Jack Reynolds

A public hearing is slated for next month on an ordinance that will render smoking illegal on Surf City beaches, in parks and other recreation areas in the borough.

“The carrying or smoking of lighted tobacco products is prohibited along the ocean beaches in accordance with state statute,” according to Ordinance 2019-03, which also sets aside an area, not to exceed 15 percent of the total beach area, for smoking. The exception is done by council resolution.

The smoking ban is in full effect in Veterans’ Memorial Park.

The ordinance defines lighted tobacco products as a lighted cigar, cigarette, pipe or any other substance that contains tobacco or any other matter that can be smoked. It includes the inhaling or exhaling of smoke or vapor from an electronic smoking device, according to the measure.

Elsewhere on Long Beach Island, smoking is banned on all beaches between the surfside flags during lifeguard hours, and at all times at the playground areas of Waterfront Park, located at 10th Street and Shore Avenue in Ship Bottom. It’s also barred at the bay bathing beach between 15th and 16th streets.

Smoking is prohibited on all beaches between the swimming flags during hours when lifeguards are on duty in Harvey Cedars, and year ’round at Sunset Park, excluding designated parking areas.

The smoking bans in Ship Bottom and Harvey Cedars went into effect in 2013.

Under a smoking ban adopted in 2014, smoking on any of Long Beach Township’s beaches, as well as at Bayview Park, is prohibited from May 20 to Oct. 1. Smoking at the park’s playground area is banned all year.

At the north end of the Island in Barnegat Light, smoking is prohibited on borough beaches from May 1 through Sept. 30. The ban went into effect two years ago after officials received complaints.

Beach Haven adopted an ordinance outlawing the smoking of tobacco products on borough beaches, including within 15 feet of the beach access pathways, as well as in any recreational or park area or borough-owned property. The measure was approved in May 2016.

Just last month, it became illegal to smoke cigarettes, cigars and pipes, as well as use vapes or other tobacco-related devices in public parks, historic sites and on other-state owned property, or on beaches and boardwalks anywhere statewide. That law went into effect Jan. 16. Under it, violators can be fined up to $1,000 for lighting up. It’s one of the most expensive tobacco-use bans in the nation.

Gov. Phil Murphy signed the law in July, saying the “the Jersey Shore has always been one of state’s – and nation’s – great natural treasures, and a place for families to enjoy. Signing this legislation demonstrates my firm commitment to protecting our environment and public health while preserving the quality and cleanliness of our public beaches and park areas.”

The bill authorizes the state Department of Environmental Protection, towns and counties to take measures to educate the public about the smoking ban and associated penalties, which can be $250 for a first offense, $500 for a second offense and $1,000 for each subsequent offense.

“New Jersey will be the first state to make all local, county and state public parks and beaches 100 percent smoke-free and vape-free,” Karen Blumenfeld, executive director of Global Advisors on Smoke-Free Policy, said. “Once again, New Jersey is a leader when it comes to protecting people from secondhand smoke and creating healthy outdoor environments for children.”

The Surf City ordinance will be considered for final passage and adoption following a public hearing at 7:30 p.m., March 13 at the municipal building.

— Gina G. Scala

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