Smokers will continue to be able to light up on the beach in certain towns following Gov. Chris Christie’s veto legislation that would ban smoking on beaches statewide.
As it currently stands, municipalities are allowed to enact ordinances allowing or disallowing smoking on ocean beaches. The legislative measure would have banned smoking on all beaches statewide regardless of the preferences of local communities. Christie has twice previously voted the law, which was passed by strong, bipartisan majorities in both houses of the legislature.
“By vetoing this legislation the Governor sided with the tobacco lobby over protecting our environment and public health,” said Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey chapter of the Sierra Club. “Instead of trying to protect our parks and health he is turning them into ash tray. He is doing this because of his national political ambitions against what is best for the people of New Jersey.”
Cigarrette butts frequently are one of the most common litter items collected during annual beach sweeps up and down the New Jersey coast. While some some towns, such as Belmar, Seaside Heights and Seaside Park, ban or limit smoking, others, such as Brick, Lavallette and Surf City, allow smoking on their ocean beaches.
Christie has previously said that the bill banning smoking would limit the power of local governmental bodies to regulate their beaches.