Smokers can no longer light up on the beach or boardwalk of Belmar, thanks to a new ordinance that bans the practice along the beachfront and removes the remaining designated smoking areas.

(Matt King, Getty Images)

An ordinance passed by Belmar's governing body Tuesday night 4-0 in favor of tightening smoking regulations and removing the remaining designated smoking sections along the boardwalk. Mayor Matt Doherty cited litter from cigarette butts as a major issue as well as the health concerns from second-hand smoke that wafts onto the boardwalk and beach.

The decision has received its share of derision, especially from smokers. However, even some non-smokers see the move as violation of personal freedom.

"I make my personal space, if someone is smoking I can move to another personal space," said one jogger on the Belmar boardwalk.

However, many non-smokers have emotions ranging from ambivalent to excited about the decision.

"I used to smoke, I don't smoke anymore and [the ordinance] makes happy. I have emphysema from smoking and the further I'm away from it the better I like it," said one boardwalk visitor.

A Belmar visitor from New York pointed out the borough is much more family oriented than other shore communities.

"I can understand everyone having the right to do their thing, but I can understand not wanting cigarette butts on the beach. I also can understand it for families and kids. If I had kids, I wouldn't want them to be around people smoking," the visitor said, adding that there wae other options available. "If it's that big of a deal to smoke on the beach, go to a different beach nearby."

Electronic cigarettes are not subject to the ban according to Mayor Doherty, since they don't produce a significant amount of litter and don't produce second-hand smoke.

The L Beach on the borough's west side is also not covered by the ordinance since it does not charge for admission. A separate ordinance hearing will be set up for it.