Smoking on the Beach

New Jersey's governor signed a bill Friday sharply limiting where people can smoke at public beaches and parks.

Earlier this year, Gov. Phil Murphy signed into law a ban on smoking on beaches, a move that left the onus on shore towns to figure out enforcement.

Municipalities have two options: Prohibit smoking on beaches entirely, or designate up to 15 percent of their shoreline as "smoking areas."

The law took effect in January, but local officials are now determining which route their towns will take.

Here's an evolving list of each municipality's stance. Check back for updates.

Atlantic County

Ventnor: The city is leaning toward an outright ban on smoking.

"For now it looks like the consensus is no smoking on the beach. ... However, it is expected to be discussed further at an April workshop meeting," business administrator Maria Mento said.

Longport: The borough stopped allowing smoking on its beaches in 2017.

Brigantine: City Council is still debating whether to ban smoking or create specific "smoking areas." The topic is being discussed at the council meeting April 3 in an executive session.

"We're not quite there yet. It seems to be going back and forth," said City Manager Jim Bennett.

Cape May County

Wildwood Crest: Borough Council introduced an ordinance March 20 carving out its "back beaches" for smokers, largely away from most bathers. It will be heard and adopted April 3.

The city plans to put up "Smoking Permitted" signs on beaches where it is allowed. According to the ordinance, Wildwood Crest "may close, change or abolish" the location of smoking areas as it sees fit.

The Wildwood Crest Police Department will enforce the rules.

Wildwood: The city already prohibits smoking on the Boardwalk, within 10 feet of the Boardwalk and all pathways leading to the Boardwalk.

It's not yet clear how the city plans to interpret the state's new law.

Ocean City: In June 2018, the city stopped allowing smoking on its beaches and paths leading to the beaches. The council amended an existing ordinance that prohibited smoking in parks and recreational areas.

Sea Isle City: The city plans to follow state law and ban smoking on all of its beaches. Police would enforce the ban.

Avalon: The borough will not permit smoking on its beaches.

"Council is not interested in having a portion of the beach reserved for smoking, as allowable by law," said Business Administrator Scott Wahl.

Stone Harbor: The borough will not permit smoking on its beaches and will add "No Smoking" to all beach rule signs. Police will enforce the ban.

​Contact: 609-272-7258

Twitter @AvalonZoppo

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