Smoke-Free Beach Bill Clears Hurdle

Members of a Senate committee have approved a bill that would ban smoking at beaches and public parks in New Jersey.

Violators would face fines of at least $250 for the first offense.

The measure on Monday was amended to allow towns to set aside up to 20 percent of a beach or park as a smoking area.

The state Assembly in March passed a bill calling for the smoking ban.

Some beach towns already have banned smoking on their sands, including Belmar, Seaside Park, Long Branch, and Sunset Beach in Cape May Point.

More than a third of New Jersey's municipalities have laws on the books that restrict smoking in parks and recreational areas.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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