Garden State residents could face a $1,000 fine for smoking at any beach or public park in New Jersey if a state assembly bill becomes law.
A bill passed unanimously in committee on Thursday would amend the nearly decade-old New Jersey Smoke-Free Air Act to include beaches and parks to a list of places where smokers are banned from lighting up.
The bill currently exempts places like private residences and cars, cigar bars, off-track betting facilities and parks and beaches from smoking restrictions.
The proposed legislation claims that “the prohibition of smoking at public parks and beaches would better preserve the natural assets of this State by reducing litter and increasing fire safety in those areas, while lessening exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke among the public.”
The bill, sponsored by Assemblywomen Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen) and Angelica M. Jimenez (D-Bergen, Hudson), passed in the Assembly Tourism and Gaming Committee Thursday with several witness speaking in support and none speaking against, according to nj.com.
A case on the constitutionality of a smoking ban at public parks in Clayton, Mo., made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court in 2013, but judges there declined to hear the case.
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