CAPE MAY – The City Council again rejected plans Tuesday to ban smoking on public beaches, but members agreed to appoint a committee to review the proposal, which could be reconsidered for the 2013 summer season.
The council had rejected a broader measure last November. It would have banned smoking on all public beaches, in city parks, and on the oceanfront Promenade.
But that proposal came under strong attack from the business community amid concerns it would hurt tourism and infringe on beachgoers’ personal liberties.
Several other Jersey Shore beaches already ban or heavily restrict smoking on the sand. Seaside Park bans smoking on the beach and boardwalk, while Belmar restricts it to small corners of the sand.
Long Branch and Ocean Grove also have smoke-free beaches, as does Somers Point, which bans smoking on its bay beach.
And more than 100 New Jersey communities restrict smoking in municipal parks.
Last fall, Deputy Mayor Jack Wichterman said he “just thought it was time” to propose a smoking ban.
Wichterman told The Inquirer that he had heard complaints from nonsmokers bothered by smoke at the beach.
He was also aware, he said, that some smokers did not properly dispose of their cigarette butts.