Nearly every square inch of parks and beaches in the state of New Jersey could be going smoke-free after the state’s legislature approved a bill on Thursday, sending it to Gov. Phil Murphy’s desk for his signature.
Thursday was a busy day for S2534, first passing the Senate by a 34-1 vote, which sent it to the Assembly where it was approved by a 66-1-2 vote, which set up a final 32-1 vote back in the Senate.
The bill is notable because it would apply to any park or beach in the state, regardless of which municipality has supervisory authority over the space. It includes a provision that up to 15 percent of the total area of the beach, which would be designated by the municipality or county by ordinance or resolution as a smoking area. It also does not include any parking lot that is adjacent to, but outside of, a public beach or park, or to golf courses.
While the bill does not specify who is to enforce the ban, it does spell out penalties for violators, which start at $250 for the first offense, $500 for the second offense and $1,000 for each subsequent offense.
If the governor signs the bill, it will go into effect 180 days after that date.