A bill to ban smoking on the beaches of Rhode Island was recently introduced into the state legislature by Sen. Erin Lynch in an attempt to rid the areas of secondhand smoke as well as the litter left by cigarette smokers.

Senate Bill 0124, titled the Public Beach Smoking Control Act, would ban the smoking of any tobacco product on or within 20 feet of a beach managed by the state’s environmental management office. It also specifically prohibits the disposal of cigarette and cigar butts within that same 20 foot area.

Violators wold be subject to a minimum fine of $150 for a first offense, with subsequent offenses escalating to $1,000. A judge could also require a person to perform community service, specifically a minimum of eight hours cleaning up litter on the state’s beaches.

In a prepared statement, Sen. Lynch said that “the use of tobacco is being found to be increasingly dangerous, for smokers and others who must breathe this contaminated air. Our beaches are family places, full of little children who should not be subjected to others fouling the air with potentially hazardous smoke.”

The bill currently awaits action by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Patrick Lagreid

I strive to capture the essence of a cigar and the people behind them in my work – every cigar you light up is the culmination of the work of countless people and often represents generations of struggle and stories. For me, it’s about so much more than the cigar – it’s about the story behind it, the experience of enjoying the work of artisans and the way that a good cigar can bring people together. In addition to my work with halfwheel, I’m the public address announcer for the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks during spring training, as well as for the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League, the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for MLB.com, plus I'm a voice over artist. I previously covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for Examiner.com, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.