Committee advances bill to ban smoking on all NJ beaches

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Smoking at the Jersey Shore may soon be a thing of the past.

A state Senate committee approved the “New Jersey Smoke Free Air Act,” which would ban smoking at all of the state’s public beaches.

“We don’t want our beautiful beaches to be used as ashtrays,” said state Sen. Steve Sweeney in a statement. “It’s a matter of public health, environmental protection and quality of life.

Environmental advocates say cigarette filters are among the top types of litter collected from beaches. They say that they collected about 25,000 cigarette butts from New Jersey beaches last year.

The ban would not apply to beach parking lots. It would allow municipalities to designate up to 15 percent of a beach for permitted smoking.

Violators could face a $250 fine for a first offense.

There are 19 towns in New Jersey that have already banned smoking on its beaches.

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