One shore town takes advantage of loophole in NJ beach smoking ban

David Madden
May 06, 2019 - 4:00 am
Cigarettes at the beach.

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WILDWOOD CREST, N.J. (KYW Newsradio) — New Jersey’s ban on smoking on public beaches is now in effect, but municipalities can opt to allow for smokers to light up in special set-aside sections, and at least one shore town is willing to try it.

The state ban allows for up to 15 percent of a beach to be designated as a smoking zone. Wildwood Crest will set those zones up furthest from the ocean in between street entrances. 

“If you have a law on the books, it has to be enforced,” Mayor Don Cabrera told KYW Newsradio. “We didn’t want to have folks starting to get written up for smoking when they’ve been able to do it for all these years.”

Related: NJ beach smoking ban short on enforcement protocols

Signs will be up in time for the Memorial Day weekend and cans in place to discard cigarette butts. Smoke outside those zones on the beach, though, and you will get a warning on a first offense. 

“We didn’t want to have folks congregating at the access to the beach or on the ramps or the walkways going down to the beach,” the Mayor added. ”So it’s off the travel path, so to speak, but close enough so they could access it from their beach chairs and/or their beach blankets.”

Cabrera says they’ll try it this way for this summer, but the town reserves the right to change things if this doesn’t work out. 

By the way, the ban is in place in the rest of the Wildwoods. In fact, Cabrera suggests the Crest might be the only beach town in the state exercising the smoking zone option.