Council Passes Smoking Ban on Ocean City Boardwalk

Council approved the ban on the same day the State Senate banned smoking in county and municipal parks across the state.

Patch File Photo
Patch File Photo
Beginning in mid-July, there’s a No Smoking policy in effect on the boardwalk.

Ocean City Council unanimously approved an ordinance banning smoking anywhere on the boardwalk, including the ramps and stairs leading to the boardwalk Thursday night

The original wording of the legislation was changed from “tobacco products” to “smoking” to reflect the inclusion of electronic cigarettes, a form of smoking that has always been covered by the ordinance despite some confusion on that matter over the past week.

The vote came on the same day in which the State Senate passed a ban on smoking in county and municipal parks across the state.

“The governor said he would veto that legislation because he would rather have the municipalities decide what they want to do,” said Councilman Scott Ping, who sponsored the legislation.

Legislation passed by the Senate on Thursday leaves the decision of whether to ban smoking on the beach up to the individual municipalities, according to nj.com.

Smoking was previously banned in parks and recreation areas in Ocean City.

Hank Glaser, the former president of the Boardwalk Merchants Association, voiced the association’s concerns during the meeting.

“We don’t want to insult our visitors,” Glaser said. “Smokers aren’t criminals.”

He said he hopes the police department abides by its current policy of giving out warnings and distributing tickets conservatively, if at all. He also voiced concerns about smoking in the streets.

“I’ve had discussions with the police chief and he’s very clear it will remain as is with warnings issued and few, if any, summonses unless there is a complete disregard for the officer’s instructions,” Ocean City Business Administrator Mike Dattilo said.

He also recognizes the legislation can lead to a situation in which people are smoking by the boardwalk entrances, leading non-smokers to possibly walk through a cloud of smoke before getting on to the boardwalk.

Council has discussed multiple solutions in an effort to keep the path to the boardwalk as smoke free as possible.

“We’re all going to work together,” said Mayor Jay Gillian, recognizing this is “not an easy situation for merchants and guests of the city.

“We’re going to try to find the best solution for everybody,” Council Vice President Michael Allegretto said.

Council was in agreement the ban was the right thing to do and that the solutions would have to be inclusive for all the city’s visitors.

The penalty for smoking in these areas is $100-$250 for the first offense and $500-$1,000 for any subsequent offense.

The legislation was the last piece of legislation sponsored by Ping, whose term on council ends on Monday. He chose not to run for re-election this past spring.

“Years ago when we talked about having no smoking restaurants, we had a lot of push back, including from the restaurant owners,” Ping said. “Now you talk to some of these owners and they’ll tell you it’s been better for their business.

“I don’t think we’ll have any problems with this long term. It’s something  (council will) keep an eye on this summer and revisit it in the spring.”

Donna June 27, 2014 at 06:14 PM
OMG! Doesn't council have anything more important to deal with now? Btw, I am not a smoker, never have nor is anyone in my family. Never saw it a problem with people smoking (except for the smell of cigars). YOU people already nixed drinking in establishments in OC. But if you are rich enough you can enjoy smoking and drinking at your private clubs. Now you will drive more families to another shore point b/c some of them have an addiction and just enjoy smoking which is not illegal. If they are on the boardwalk, they may spend LESS time there spending their money in your businesses b/c they need that fix. They will spend shorter visits and leave the boardwalk with their big family. So, shorter visits, less money spent on the boardwalk and businesses will hurt. And to ban it on the streets and parks and everything in the open air is ridiculous. The most ridiculous is banning electronic cigarettes. We had a good laugh at that one. We are almost becoming dictatorship govt right here in OCNJ. LOL!!! And if you start imposing those large fines, word will get to all folks around and they will not be coming back to OC. Wait til the NEWS media gets a hold of this story. They will sink our ship. This will lure our visitors to other towns taking money needed in this town. We take offense to all this banning as we have a beautiful home that we must rent in order to afford living here. So, you are infringing on our livelihood and that of other businesses. Those fines are steep and ridiculous. Bet the police will get an earful. So add that to the high cost of parking in town and this banning, this city is going to DIE and it's all your fault, present council. Rescind it. Make certain areas for smokers, if you must, just so you can show your power. As they say, "if it ain't broke don't fix it". All was ok and not bad enough to take these drastic steps. Don't think smoking was a hindrance so much. This is no way to win more people to come vacation here, This will drive them away. Find positive things to do to draw people to our beautiful family resort, Ocean City. We love it here but you're spoiling it.
Fran June 27, 2014 at 07:00 PM
I would guess that any who are upset by these changes we would not care too much about losing them to another place. Don't worry as all shore towns, as well as most cities and malls today everywhere you travel are putting in these same rules so those that are disgruntled are going to have a hard time finding places to go anymore where they can continue their unhealthy nasty habits. They might find themselves sitting home and doing their smoking right there alone.
OCnjOC June 27, 2014 at 07:36 PM
Fran - If you couple map out a plan on how everyone else should live according to your standards I am sure City Council will place it in an ordinance. It is funny that nobody addressed the fact that they outlawed electronic cigs even though it has nothing to do with any of the reasons cited. All you see is hyperbole.
Donna June 27, 2014 at 08:35 PM
OCnjOC and Fran I did mention how ridiculous banning electronic cigs was and that we got a good laugh out of that. Fran, what happened to our FREEDOMS? Yes, smoking is unhealthy but out in the open air, it's ok. You said it's a bad habit and I guess you don't have any vices. And we disagree with you b/c there are many GOOD people who smoke and deserve to be here just like you and I. They shouldn't be judged and discriminated against b/c they smoke or not. Just think City Council is too restrictive.
Butterflygirl June 28, 2014 at 08:22 AM
I think Fran is on to something. Outlaw all disgusting and unhealthy behavior! Ban smoking, alcohol, soda, diet drinks, bacon, any and all sugary foods, any white starch foods, tanning, playing video games etc. And lets make sure there is a list of words that should never be spoken. Dont want someone to hear a bad word or get their feelings hurt.


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