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New Jersey Could Ban Smoking at Public Parks and Beaches

State lawmakers are attempting to extend public smoking bans from just indoor spaces to public outdoor spaces as well.

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By Bryan Le

02/20/14

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Smoke 'em somewhere else if you got 'em, because New Jersey state lawmakers could extend public smoking bans from just public indoor spaces to public parks and beaches as well. "I think it's time that we continue to pass legislation in the interest of good public health," said Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen), one of the bill's sponsors. "It reduces litter and reduces fire hazards in those areas. And the exposure to second hand smoke."

The Assembly Tourism and Gaming Committee is looking to push bill A1080, which would fine people who light up in the park or on the beach. Fines will start at $250 with the first offense, $500 for the second offense, and $1000 for every offense afterward.

“The prohibition of smoking at public parks and beaches would better preserve the natural assets of this State by reducing litter and increasing fire safety in those areas, while lessening exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke among the public,” the bill reads.

A public outdoors smoking ban wouldn't be anything new to many New Jersey residents. Already 14 towns in the state already ban beach smoking, while 107 already ban smoking in parks, said Tom Hester, Jr., a spokesman for the Assembly Democrats. Other states across the country have similar laws, while California lawmakers has gone as far as trying to ban filtered cigarettes. 

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