What to Know
- Smoking at public beaches and parks in New Jersey is now regulated.
- The law doesn't specify who will be responsible for enforcing it.
- Fines start at $250 for a first offense and go up to $1,000 for a third offense.
A ban on smoking at public beaches and parks in New Jersey took effect Wednesday.
Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy signed the bill banning smoking at the state's public beaches and parks in July, though local communities can opt out and designate small smoking sections.
The law doesn't specify who will be responsible for enforcing it. Murphy said it shouldn't be lifeguards, but he left it up to towns to decide.
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"A lifeguard is there to save lives, first and foremost, for people in the water" Murphy said back when the bill was signed. "I don't want to add an extra burden to the lifeguard and take him or her away from their primary mission."
But state Senate President Steve Sweeney, who sponsored the bill, said either lifeguards or local police could be called on to enforce the ban when people complain.
"We don't want to be disrespectful to people who smoke, but we want smokers to be respectful to everyone else who uses the beach, too," Sweeney said back when the bill was signed.
The ban also prohibits so-called "vaping" involving the use of electronic smoking devices on beaches or parks.
It allows towns to set up designated smoking areas of 15 percent of a beach or park. Smokers also would be allowed to light up in parking lots.
Fines start at $250 for a first offense and go up to $1,000 for a third offense.