CAPE MAY – The City Council has rejected – for now, at least – a proposed ban on smoking on all of its beaches, and in public parks and its oceanfront walkway.
The council deadlocked, 2-2, Monday night. The fifth member was absent.
Opponents of the ban told the council they worried about infringing on people’s personal liberties and about driving business away from the tourist spot.
Alan Kantz of Global Advisors on Smokefree Policy (GASP) said he hoped the council would reconsider the measure soon. If so, he said, his group can address those concerns.
“We still strongly support smoke-free public spaces,” he said.
The ordinance would have set a minimum penalty of $100 for violators. Maximum penalties for repeat offenders could have gone as high as $1,250 and up to 90 days in jail.
The ordinance stated that smoking is a form of air pollution and thus a danger to public health.
Several other New Jersey beaches already ban or heavily restrict smoking on the beach. Seaside Park bans smoking on the beach and boardwalk, while Belmar restricts it to small corners of the sand.
Long Branch and Ocean Grove also have smoke-free beaches, as does Somers Point, which bans smoking on its bay beach.
More than 100 New Jersey communities restrict smoking in municipal parks.
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