Fort Lee in New Jersey became the first city in Bergen County to pass an ordinance which bans smoking in outdoor cafes and restaurants. The law acting today in the state of New Jersey already bans wafting of tobacco smoke in indoor work settings and public places.
Anti-smoking activists claim that local municipalities can pass their own anti-smoking ordinances, which make it easier to enforce the law.
Karen Blumenfeld is the executive director of Global Advisors on Smokefree Policy. She conducted an anti-smoking campaign which influenced municipalities in the state to prohibit smoking in public parks.
According to Stephen Wielkocz, the borough’s health officer, anti-smoking laws passed locally have more impact than the ones that are passed on a state level. He says that the law in Fort Lee is very clear and it would be easily enforced.
Up to date only the muunicipality of Passaic prohibited use of tobacco in outdoor eating establishments.
The Fort Lee smoke-free ordinance imposes the establishment of no-smoking signs at outdoor cafes and restaurants. They also would inform people about punishments. Offenders will be subjected to a $250 fine for a first offense, $500 for a second one and $1,000 for next offenses.
Smoking also is not allowed at recreational facilities and all public parks and here are imposed similar finaes.
Wielkocz considers that new smoking ban in Fort Lee would inspire other cities in the state to follw the example. According to data, there is a dozen businesses with outdoor eating areas in the city and they are afraid that would lose their clients with the new move. However, anti-smoking activists say that people’s health is on the first place.