Go To The Homepage
Fishing News


January news headlines regarding the new smoking ban on NJ public beaches only told part of the story, as the law actually applies to all New Jersey state parks and marinas.

By Jim Hutchinson, Jr.  |  February 4, 2019
Cigarette butts have typically comprised of the largest amount of trash picked up in annual beach sweeps by Clean Ocean Action; their 2019 Beach Sweeps will be held Saturday, April 13 and Saturday, October 26

As of January 16, New Jersey state law prohibits smoking at public beaches and all New Jersey state parks; as per the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), that new restriction also includes state marinas.

The bill, S-2534, an update to the “New Jersey Smoke-Free Air Act of 2006,” authorizes DEP and local municipalities to take measures to enforce the smoking ban and associated penalties, which can be $250 for a first offense, $500 for a second offense, and $1,000 for each subsequent offense. The ban also bars vaping.

The bill does allow communities to set aside designated areas for smoking on local beaches, but it doesn’t actually specify who will be responsible for enforcing it. When New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed the updated legislation last summer, he said it shouldn’t be lifeguards doing enforcement, but he said it should be left up to towns to decide.

“This time next year the only smell most New Jersey beachgoers will be enjoying will be the scent of the salt air and maybe the aroma of some grilled sausage, French fries, funnel cakes wafting off the boardwalks,” Governor Murphy said at the signing of the legislation in July of 2018.

News headlines in January regarding the new smoking ban on public beaches and state parks only told part of the story. The actual law defines “State park or forest” as any State owned or leased land, water or facility administered by DEP including, but not limited to, a park, forest, recreational area, marina, historic site, burial site, or natural area, but not including a wildlife management area or reservoir land.

There are approximately 50 “State park or forest” locations in New Jersey impacted by the smoking ban, from Abram S. Hewitt State Forest and Allaire State Park, to Leonardo State Marina and Liberty Landing Marina, all the way down the alphabet through Wharton State Forest and Worthington State Forest

“The ban applies to all DEP-managed lands, except Wildlife Management Areas and reservoir land,” said DEP spokesman Larry Hajna, who added “The law does not allow for designated smoking areas on the state lands, so there will be none. This includes state marinas.”

While much of the public discussion on the smoking ban has been associated with surfcasting locations like Island Beach State Park, Barnegat Light State Park, Corson’s Inlet and Cape May Point, other marina locations impacted by the new law also include Fortescue State Marina, Frank S. Farley State Marina, and Forked River State Marina.

While local municipalities can set up designated smoking areas not to exceed 15 percent of the total area of the beach, the law does not appear to give the state the same allowance at state parks or state marinas.

Find the complete New Jersey state park directory at njparksandforests.org.

Explore Product Partners: