Longport has already banned smoking on it’s beach. But now, it’s a NJ state law starting JAN 16, 2019 for everyone including Margate & Ventnor. How will Downbeach ensure compliance?
NJ Parks & Beaches Smoking ban
NJ Gov. Phil Murphy signed a bill banning smoking at the state’s public beaches and parks this past July. NOTE: Local communities can opt out and designate small smoking sections.
The NJ Smoking ban law takes effect Jan. 16, 2019
Who will be responsible for enforcing it? Good question. It shouldn’t be lifeguards or police. Downbeach towns like Margate and Ventnor need to make that decision.
Will lifeguards and local police ultimately be called to enforce the Downbeach smoking ban?
The ban also bars vaping but allows towns to set up smoking areas on 15 percent of any given beach or park. Smokers will also be allowed to light up in parking lots.
Wildwood went smoke-free in 2018. Ocean City banned smoking on the boardwalk back in 2014. Belmar, Cape May Point, Lavallette, Long Branch, Ocean City, Point Pleasant, Rockaway, Seaside Park, Spring Lake, and Surf City already have smoking bans.
Banning / reducing smoking on Margate & Ventnor beaches
Can Jersey shore and Downbeach towns like Margate and Ventnor significantly reduce or eliminate beach smoking without burdening police & beach patrols? We think that answer is YES.
Public Education via High-Profile Signage
- Beach entrances
- Guard stands
- Beach trash cans
General Public Reminders
- Online, Broadcast & Print – Public Service Announcements (PSA’s)
- Print flyer included in each beach badge purchase
- No Smoking reminder imprinted on Beach Badge
- Friendly reminder on Badge Checker t-shirts
Instead of a heavy-handed NO SMOKING signs….. maybe we can use gentle, eco-friendly reminders instead. Enlist ‘Lucy The Elephant’ to encourage Smoke-Free Margate Beaches? Here are some potential phrases that might work…
- ‘Please Keep Margate / Ventnor Beaches Smoke Free’
- Welcome to Downbeach. Clean Beaches, Cool Waves & Fresh, Smoke-Free Air.
- Marine Life Thinks Your Cigarette Butt is Food. Please Don’t Feed the Seagulls.
- Welcome to Margate / Ventnor Beach, Where Salt Air Smells Better Than Second Hand Smoke.
- Respect the Beach Blanket Next Door. Please Refrain from Smoking.
How to adequately enforce a beach smoking ban is the greatest challenge. Nobody wants to have lifeguards and police officers doling out warnings and tickets. Nobody should risk having to confront a puffing violator either.
According to anecdotal evidence, public education, self-enforcement and the good ole’ honor system seems to reduce beach smoking by over half. Eventually, NOT smoking on the beach becomes the norm, much like in planes or office buildings.
Currently, if you get caught lighting up in a prohibited Longport location, you’ll face a fine for up to $250. Get caught a second time, that will be $500. Your bank account will be $1,000 smaller for each subsequent smoking offense.
Secondhand smoke and cigarette butts on the beach were the main culprits for Longport’s ban.
Beach goers have complained of second hand smoke, discarded butts on beach, vaping and cigars. Second-hand cigarette & cigar smoke can be a problem. The carcinogenic has the uncanny ability to waft long distances along the beach.
Additional Smoking / Tobacco Info to Consider:
- Over 85% of New Jersey consumers are non-smokers.
- Business revenue actually increases in smoke-free environments
- Going smoke-free can increase life expectancy by 10 years.
- Electronic cigarettes (vaping) especially when flavored, can be attractive to young adults.
- Chewing tobacco. Those who dip or chew get about the same amount of nicotine as regular smokers…. as well as mouth, tongue, cheek, and gum cancer.