Home Government Beach Smoking Ban Bill Returns, Clears State Assembly Panel

Beach Smoking Ban Bill Returns, Clears State Assembly Panel

Brick Beach III (Photo: Daniel Nee)
Brick Beach III (Photo: Daniel Nee)

A renewed effort to ban smoking on public beaches in New Jersey has cleared a legislative hurdle, though there is no telling if the ultimate fate of the bill will be different than the last time a ban was proposed.

Sponsored by Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen), the bill would extend the New Jersey Smoke Free Air Act to include public parks and beaches. The same law bans smoking in restaurants and office buildings in New Jersey. The bill was formally released Monday morning by the Assembly Tourism, Gaming and the Arts Committee. In order to become law, the bill would have to be passed by the full Assembly, state Senate and signed into law by Gov. Chris Christie. The last time the beach smoking ban reached the governor’s desk, he vetoed the legislation.

“While I appreciate the sponsors’ concerns regarding the health risks posed by smoking and secondhand smoke, I am not persuaded that a prescriptive, one-size-fits-all state ban on smoking at public parks and beaches is advisable at this time,” Christie wrote in a veto message.


Many New Jersey towns already ban smoking by way of local ordinances, including Seaside Heights, Seaside Park and Toms River Township. But other towns, including Lavallette, have chosen to allow smoking to continue on the sand. Brick’s beaches do not have a smoking ban. Proponents of a ban cite the health consequences of inhaling secondhand smoke – especially for those who suffer from asthma and COPD – as well as the environmental concerns that stem from cigarette butts littering beaches. It has also been argued that banning smoking in parks could reduce the risk of forest fires. Those who oppose a ban often argue that it is not the government’s role to ban smoking in an outdoor area.

“Banning cigarettes on our beaches and in our parks is a no brainer,” said Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey chapter of the Sierra Club. “Every year at our annual beach cleanup volunteers pick up tons of cigarettes on one beach, in just two hours. Cigarettes not only pose a risk to human health, but cause harm to our environment and animals. That is why we need a statewide ban.”

  • Vinny Gracchus

    Another step toward total prohibition of a legal activity. Outdoor bans are about social control and not about risks from second hand smoke, see: Bayer, R. and Bachynski KE, “Banning Smoking In Parks And On Beaches: Science, Policy, And The Politics Of Denormalization,” Health Aff, July 2013 Vol. 32, no. 7, 1291-1298. The abstract from that paper reads:

    “Campaigns to limit tobacco use started in the 1970s and have led to bans on public smoking, which have been extended to parks and beaches. A review of state and local statutes shows that during 1993–2011, smoking was banned in 843 parks and on 150 beaches across the United States. Three justifications for these restrictions have been invoked: the risk of passive smoke to nonsmokers, the pollution caused by cigarette butts, and the long-term risks to children from seeing smoking in public. Our analysis of the evidence for these claims found it far from definitive and in some cases weak.”

    Reject this draconian outdoor smoking ban.

    • J W

      Second hand smoke kills. You aren’t entitled to your own facts, you tobacco industry lobbyist shill. Go somewhere else.

      • Vinny Gracchus

        Really, what evidence. The facts are the facts. This isn’t my own evidence, it is part of a well documented body of evidence. Lodging an ad hominem attack and calling someone who disagrees with you is a well known tobacco control propaganda tactic used to chill dissent.

        Consider: “At the behest of Congressman Henry Waxman (D-Ca), the Congressional Research Service (CRS) spent two years examining reports and came up with the following conclusions regarding second hand smoke and lung cancer (Redhead and Rowberg, 1995): (a) The statistical evidence does not appear to support a conclusion that there are substantial health effects of passive smoking. (b) It is possible that very few or even no deaths can be attributed to second hand smoke. (c) If there are any lung cancer deaths from second hand smoke, they are likely to be concentrated among those subjected to the highest exposure levels (e.g., spouses). (d) The absolute risk, even to those with the greatest exposure levels, is uncertain.” From the “Myth of Second Hand Smoke” http://www.yourdoctorsorders.c

        (Redhead, C. S. and Rowberg, R. E. (1995, November 14) CRS Report for Congress. “Environmental Tobacco Smoke and Lung Cancer Risk.” Retrieved November 2007 from the internet.)

      • Vinny Gracchus

        The overwhelming majority of studies agree there is no health risk from second hand smoke. “The average intake of toxic and genotoxic compounds due to ETS exposure is that low that it is difficult, if not impossible, to explain the increased risk of lung cancer as found in epidemiological studies. The uncertainty is further increased because the validity of epidemiological studies on passive smoking is limited severely by numerous bias and confounding factors which cannot be controlled for reliability. The question of whether or not ETS exposure is high enough to induce and/or promote the carcinogenic effects observed in epidemiological studies thus remains open, and the assumption of an increased risk of lung cancer due to ETS exposure is, at present, more a matter of opinion than of firm scientific evidence.” (See Adlkofer F. Lung cancer due to passive smoking–a review.Int Arch Occup Environ Health. 2001 May;74(4):231-41.)

      • J W

        A mix of Made up nonsense from phoney scientists and cherry picked information you distort- you people are habitual liars and should be ashamed of yourselves.

      • Vinny Gracchus

        The manipulation of data is the province of tobacco control. You can deny the studies in favor of your prohibitionist ideology, but the truth will catch up with your lies and the persecution of those you disagree with. Tobacco control and all lifestyle controllers will be held to answer for their divisive and totalitarian strategies.

        One large study looked at 38 years worth of data. Engstrom, JE and Kabat, GC. Environmental tobacco smoke and tobacco related mortality in a prospective study of Californians, 1960-98 BMJ 2003; 326:1057. This study found “No significant associations were found for current or former exposure to environmental tobacco smoke before or after adjusting for seven confounders and before or after excluding participants with pre-existing disease.”

      • Vinny Gracchus

        In addition, smoking does not cause heart disease, nor has it been demonstrated to be a major causal factor for heart disease. (See as a start Gori, GB. Environmental tobacco smoke and coronary heart syndromes: absence of an association. Regul Toxicol Pharmacol. 1995 Apr;21(2):281-95.)

        In addition the following also discount the SHS heart disease nexus:

        – Stranges S et al., Lifetime cumulative exposure to secondhand smoke and risk of myocardial infarction in never smokers: results from the Western New York health study, 1995-2001, Arch Intern Med. 2006 Oct 9;166(18):1961-7.

        – Enstrom J and Kabat G, Environmental tobacco smoke and coronary heart disease mortality in the United States–a meta-analysis and critique, Inhal Toxicol. 2006 Mar;18(3):199-210. “An objective assessment of the available epidemiologic evidence indicates that the association of ETS with CHD death in U.S. never smokers is very weak. Previous assessments appear to have overestimated the strength of the association.”

        – Steenland K et al., Environmental tobacco smoke and coronary heart disease in the American Cancer Society CPS-II cohort, Circulation. 1996 Aug 15;94(4):622-8. “[D]ata do not show consistent dose-response trends and are possibly subject to confounding by unmeasured risk factors.”

        – Muscat J and Wynder E, Exposure to environmental tobacco smoke and the risk of heart attack, Int J Epidemiol. 24(4):715-9, August 1995. “Exposure to ETS during childhood is not associated with an increased risk of heart disease. However, ETS exposure during adulthood increased the risk of myocardial infarction approximately 50% in this data although the findings were not statistically significant.”

      • KaayC

        No objection to smokers…as long as they get off the planet to do so.

      • Vinny Gracchus

        Nice, informed and hostile comment.

      • J W

        You are a shill- you only ever post here to spam the same cut and paste propaganda for second-hand smoke bans. You’re obviously on RJ Reynolds pay roll if this is the only thing you care about. You think we’re all stupid?

      • Vinny Gracchus

        No I am not a shill, nor do I think you are stupid. Brainwashed , intolerant and willing to negate liberties to impose your will on other yes. Calling others “shills” because you disagree with them is a time honored tobacco control tactic to suppress dissent. If the tobacco control position is right, why the need to chill open discussion? No, you and your ilk are the true shills.

  • Mark Story Jenks

    The majority of cigarette butts on beaches wash up after storm water takes them down catch basins along the sides of roads. Only some catch basins drain to retention or detention ponds. Most of them, especially anything built before the early 80s drain directly to the nearest body of water and eventually to the ocean. I’ve see evidence of people pouring used engine oil and oil filters in to catch basins.
    It is disheartening to see how much garbage spews from storm water outflow pipes. I could show you plenty of them here on the Manasquan River alone, including a tributary, the Saw Mill Creek and Deep Brook Creek which is the outflow of Godfrey Lake.
    Banning smoking on beaches so help solve the discarded butt problem is like recommending a Band-Aid for a leg amputation.

  • Henk Ert

    This video proofs smoking DOES “harm others around you”! LOL!