NJ beach smoking ban short on enforcement protocols

David Madden
January 21, 2019 - 4:00 am
New Jersey’s new law banning smoking on public beaches and in parks statewide is now in effect. But the legislation lacks one important provision: who enforces it?

Mike DeNardo/KYW Newsradio

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WILDWOOD, N.J. (KYW Newsradio) — New Jersey’s new law that bans smoking on public beaches and in parks statewide is now in effect. But the legislation lacks one important provision: Who enforces it? 

“Does the word ‘almost impossible’ seem to work for you?” said Wildwood mayor Ernie Troiano. 

Troiano has some of the largest beaches in the state. It's good for tourism, but not so good if police and lifeguards are expected to be on the lookout for people lighting up illegally, and he expects to get a lot of grief over the new law.

“Probably the biggest problem we’re going to be facing is that we’re going to be getting a ton of calls from people who are on the beach calling the police department saying ‘Hey, the guy next to me is smoking and there’s nobody around here. How do you allow this? Why do you allow this to continue to happen?’ ” Troiano said.

He doesn’t expect the town to set up a special smoking section on the beach because no matter where it might be put, someone wouldn’t approve.

So what if an offender is found puffing away on the beach?

“We will warn the people,” Troiano said. “Somebody takes the attitude that ‘Look, who are you to tell me I can’t smoke?’ That’ll probably get them a ticket if they get to a point where they’re being confrontational with the police.”

And those tickets start at $250 a pop. 

The law does permit public smoking in parking lots adjacent to a beach.