The new state law banning smoking at New Jersey beaches and parks won’t take effect until January, but some lawmakers are already pushing for the concept to go farther to more outdoor public places.

It took 12 years from the time New Jersey banned smoking in restaurants and bars to extend that prohibition to beaches. But just two months later, a push is on to include the boardwalks and many other recreational spots.

“We know that the leading cause of preventable disease and death in our state as well as our nation is cigarette smoking. And that can be prevented,” said state Sen. Shirley Turner, D-Mercer.

Turner has introduced S2908. A companion measure, A4423, has been proposed by Assemblywoman Carol Murphy, D-Burlington.

New Jersey banned smoking in enclosed workplaces like bars and restaurants in 2006. In January that gets extended to beaches and parks, under a law Gov. Phil Murphy signed in July, though 15 percent of a local beach can still be designated for smoking.

The bill would extend the Smoke-Free Air Act to cover many recreational areas, such as boardwalks, racetracks, amusement parks, marinas, historical sites and natural areas, as well as burial sites.

Turner said a visit to Seaside Heights this summer reinforced to her that a wider effort is needed.

“There were people smoking on the boardwalks down there, and I thought that was rather offensive because I was there with my family, my children and grandchildren,” Turner said.

“People should be protected no matter where they are, indoors or outdoors, enjoying the recreational facilities of our state,” Turner said.

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Michael Symons is State House bureau chief for New Jersey 101.5 and the editor of New Jersey: Decoded. Follow @NJDecoded on Twitter and Facebook. Contact him at

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