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POLL: Should NJ Outlaw Smoking at Beaches and Parks?

If the legislation becomes law, smokers could face hefty fines for smoking in public.

Garden State residents could face a $1,000 fine for smoking at any beach or public park in New Jersey if a state assembly bill becomes law.

A bill passed unanimously in committee on Thursday would amend the nearly decade-old New Jersey Smoke-Free Air Act to include beaches and parks to a list of places where smokers are banned from lighting up.

The bill currently exempts places like private residences and cars, cigar bars, off-track betting facilities and parks and beaches from smoking restrictions.

The proposed legislation claims that “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.”

Some municipalities have taken to passing laws that take the Smoke-Free Air Act a step further.

Wyckoff in Bergen County and Madison in Morris County recently passed ordinances that curb smoking in public parks.

The bill, sponsored by Assemblywomen Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen) and Angelica M. Jimenez (D-Bergen, Hudson), passed in the Assembly Tourism and Gaming Committee Thursday with several witness speaking in support and none speaking against, according to nj.com.

A case on the constitutionality of a smoking ban at public parks in Clayton, Mo., made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court in 2013, but judges there declined to hear the case.

Do you support the proposed bill that would bar smokers in New Jersey from lighting up at public parks and beaches? Tell us in the comments below.

Anthony M February 24, 2014 at 09:02 AM
To all that want the ban, Thank you for telling us all that your views, wants, and "rights" are more important than anyone elses. If you don't like the smell of smoke fine, don't sit next to the guy smoking his cigar on the acre of sand that only has 2 other people on it! Stop trying to impose your view of correct behavior on me, and the state should stop being my nanny just so they can look like their doing something for the money we pay them and not the lazy bums they are. I as a veteran feel I have earned the right to light a cigar and go for a walk in the park.
Nancy February 24, 2014 at 09:10 AM
Anthony M, I hate the smell of that dang cigar. 😉 But, using my words, I defend your right to smoke it. Thank you for your service. You risked much more to defend my rights.
suz February 24, 2014 at 10:11 AM
The reason there are rules and regulations is because people today are selfish, irresponsible idiots. No respect for others.
Nancy February 24, 2014 at 10:17 AM
Suez, Well now. That was respectful.
Mac February 24, 2014 at 10:21 AM
'selfish, irresponsible idiot with no respect for others' - suz, that's the most honest description of Vicari I've ever read - and here I thought 'column A' voters didn't understand what they were voting for - live and learn
Rapheal February 24, 2014 at 10:25 AM
Reading this thread I cannot help but notice that Nancy is the only person putting forth thoughtful comments. Most everyone else is reactionary. Clearly smoking outside is not the same as smoking indoors. The SHS effect is negligible when you're talking about the great outdoors vs in your office, home or airplane (and even then I would argue you'd have to log hundreds of flights per year to really be affected). In this instance, the government has picked something that is easy to get the masses to rally behind. Just wait until they pick something a little less "evil". Imagine the outcry if they tried to ban guns or SUVs or bicycles.
Anthony M February 24, 2014 at 11:03 AM
Your right most of these are reactionary, but when it comes to some suit in Trenton that can't get anything meaningful done trying to justify his/her public salary by taking away my freedoms, Yes I get reactionery. Tell me what harm I would be doing by on the off chance I light a cigar at the park while no one else was there. Who would I be inconvencing/harming yet I would be breaking the law. The non-smokers want it their way and only their way period, there is no room for comprimise with them.
Mac February 24, 2014 at 11:14 AM
you are never alone in NJ - cigar smoke clouds the drone cameras when you are out of sight of the boardwalk and street corner cameras
Old School February 24, 2014 at 11:21 AM
I think the legislature should focus on more pressing issues than worry about outdoor smoking. For instance, how are we going to pay the unfunded pension and medical obligations to the freeloading public employees? Or, how are we going to pay for the ever increasing rolls of residents on government assistance? Or, how are we going to fund the estmated 70 billion in repairs and capital improvements needed for roads and bridges? How is this all going to be done when we already pay the highest taxes in the nation and many working class residents are moving away? These issues are probably to difficult for the polititions to deal with so they waste thier time and our money worrying about crap like this. Detroit here we come!
suz February 24, 2014 at 11:33 AM
Nancy...wasn't to for respectful. Going for the truth.
suz February 24, 2014 at 11:34 AM
Opps. Going for respectful.
Tony February 24, 2014 at 02:27 PM
Unfortunately, now that we have chosen to hand over healthcare to the government, we are now on a road to total government control of our lives. Personally, I don’t like smoking, but I’m not going to go out and try to stop someone else from doing it. However, as I said, now that healthcare is socialized, unfortunately everyone’s health is everyone else’s business now. It is only a matter of time before it is legislated out as well as many more personal choices.
Rapheal February 24, 2014 at 03:27 PM
I agree Tony. I didn't think healthcare should have been handed over. Now that will be the excuse for banning cigarettes, McDonalds and sugary drinks. They will eventually come for something these non-smokers/smoke haters care about. Also, I've never been a smoker and hate the smell. I just am 100% pro personal choice.
BeachBum February 24, 2014 at 03:54 PM
No smoking in the park and no littering the streets and business entrances with the butts - BUT, dogs allowed in all Hopatcong Parks, what a pathetic law, I applaud all who ignore the "No Dogs Allowed in the Park" law
Anthony M February 24, 2014 at 06:10 PM
So if you don't like the law it's ok to break it? Not very consistant BeachBum.
Hookerman February 24, 2014 at 07:12 PM
Nancy, you’re mistaken about a couple things. First, NJ beaches are NOT private, but are open to the public. The fact that you have to pay a fee when lifeguards are on duty does not make them private. I also looked at the Ocean Grove website, and not only are your beaches public, but they have a myriad of rules, which include; no alcohol, no electronic devices, no flying kites, no fishing in bathing areas, no throwing sand, no fires, no disrobing, no dogs, and no sleeping over night. So tell me Nancy, if I want to come to your public beaches and drink beer, fly a kite, fish, build a fire, take off my clothes, or sleep over night, how come you’re not concerned about government control and usurpation of my personal liberties??? Yet, if someone is not allowed to smoke on your beach (which is a proven health hazard to others), you’re all up in arms about government overreach. It seems to be that you’re cherry picking the personal liberties that you want to defend.
I plead the 2nd tchk tchk February 24, 2014 at 08:07 PM
NJ....The YOU can't do THAT! state. "I was wondering if I could try - NO! you can't do that!" go get a permit. But you can't do that! your in NJ. can't do it. You don't have a ll the licences and permits needed. And it is real hard to get. You have to have three people vouch for you and take an expensive government course. then you still can't do it .
Nancy February 25, 2014 at 06:36 AM
Hookerman, Two things: 1. You do not know my opinion of OGs rules, or how our community came to some of them and 2. You still haven't answered my question. I won't restate it, again. Please look at my previous THREE times.
Hookerman February 25, 2014 at 06:32 PM
"...are you willing to give government control to grab your rights across the board??" No, I'm not... nor did I ever state I was.
Nancy February 25, 2014 at 08:00 PM
Hookerman, Then how do you decide what rights you are willing to give up to government? By what standard?
Hookerman February 26, 2014 at 07:44 AM
Nancy, as I’ve explained a dozen times, a smoking ban in a public place is NOT about controlling the behavior of the smoker, but protecting the health of those around him. That’s why I said that I’d be perfectly happy with a designated smoking area away from where the people congregate. There’s no question that second hand smoke has an ill effect on others. I have a son who is severely allergic to cigarette smoke, and we had to pull him from a Saturday morning bowling league because the smoke was so heavy in the air from the night before, that he would be physically sick for the rest of the day. Thank God they banned smoking from bowling alleys so parents can now take their kids there without worrying about them getting sick. The beach in the summer is no different; you have hundreds of people crowded together at the water’s edge. The smoke can and will adversely affect others. A smoking ban is far less an infringement of personal liberties than the alcohol ban. How is my drinking a beer on the beach a threat to anyone else’s health??? It only is if a drive drunk, but we already have laws against DUI. That’s a perfect example of a nanny law.
Anthony M February 26, 2014 at 10:50 AM
Hookerman, so if you see it as benifical to you or your family( I do understand your son's condition) or not intrusive to someone else, telling people that their rights mean nothing is ok? Perfume is offensive to me and others is it ok to ban wearing perfume indoors and in public places so I don't have to smell it? The fools in Trenton will keep taking away freedoms from you and I as long as they can please a block of voters they need to keep their job. So the day you wake up and you find that you can't do or enjoy something you like because it offends someone don'be shocked. As far as the other area, why not have a seperate area for non-smokers. How far should they be apart if the wind shifts do smokers have to stop? Why not just have a smokers only beach? Oh right becuase a non-smoker wants to swim there and everyone else has to conform. It never ends.
I plead the 2nd tchk tchk February 26, 2014 at 11:26 AM
I have not run into a rude smoker. Smokers usually understand that their habit is annoying to others and we don't need another LAW. please people stop passing these stupid laws. like the teen tanning law. how stupid you new jerseians are. so helpless on your own. so dependent on daddy government to do everything for you. make me sick.
Hookerman February 26, 2014 at 11:32 AM
Once again... it is not about eliminating something that is intrusive of offensive, it is eliminating a direct health risk to others. Offensive is if I take off all my clothes at the beach. That offends, but is not a health risk to others. Offensive is if I use profanity on the beach. That also is not a health risk to others. That's why it's curious to me why no one has problems with numerous regulations concerning actions that are simply offensive (like disrobing or profanity), but a regulations that concerns an actual health risk to others, and suddenly it's all about personal liberty.
Anthony M February 26, 2014 at 12:07 PM
It reflects personal responsability. If you dob't want to be around somkers shs don't go near them. If you want a smoke free resturant or bar stay away from jr cigar don't go in there waving your arms and complaining so many I have seen. We cigar smokers want to have smoking steak and seafood resturants but we can't have them cause a nonsmoker would want to eat there and there fore we lose. Where is the fairness in that all must comply too non smokers and we can't even get an indoor place for ourseleves. It is about rights you just look far enough past your own view Hookerman
Alex C February 26, 2014 at 12:15 PM
I think people in this country are just too bored. We've become a nation of nosey busybodies.
I plead the 2nd tchk tchk February 26, 2014 at 12:41 PM
It is mostly about the progressive liberal commie narcissistic movement in NJ. If "I" want to be a vegetarian, then everyone has to be a vegetarian and we need to make laws outlawing the selling of meat and confiscate the rancher's land and give it to our vegetarian vegetable growing friends. You all make me sick, you and your can't do that attitudes.
I plead the 2nd tchk tchk February 26, 2014 at 12:44 PM
shut up hookerman you progressive know it all fggt
Mrgrumpass March 05, 2014 at 02:40 PM
People with children attend parks and in the case of our beaches pay for beach passes, if you’re not allowed to smoke in a public building then you can't smoke on the beach! I do have a major question, if you are not allowed to smoke in any public build municipal and federal in OBAMA smoking in my Whitehouse? And if so he needs to be fined and or tossed out! PS: i haven't smoked in 30+ years 4 packs a day, if i could stop anyone can!
Hookerman March 05, 2014 at 04:29 PM
Hillary Clinton established a no smoking policy in the White House when she was First Lady, and one of the questions Obama was asked when he was first elected, was whether he would change this policy (given that he was an occasional smoker). He made it clear that he would not. Of course, the White House serves two functions, as a public workplace and as a private residentce. What goes on in the private living quartes on the 2nd and 3rd floors of the residence building is entirely up to the tennants, but I have a feeling that if Obama snuck any cigs in the White House, it would be on the rooftop terrace of the residence.

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