Residents Differ On Del. Beach Smoking Ban - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Residents Differ On Del. Beach Smoking Ban

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DELAWARE - The talk of having cigarettes on Delaware beaches is not a new discussion.

But with Dewey Beach officials discussion a potential smoking ban at their local beaches and parks, it's one some residents feel shouldn't be brought up.

"The state [of Delaware] needs to pay attention to other things rather than banning cigarettes on the beach," said Terry Jones of Rehoboth Beach, Del.

But Wayne Beers, who quit smoking, says he agrees with the ban and that "you shouldn't be smoking at all.

"All the information out there definitely let's you know it's bad for your health."

Neighboring beaches, like in Fenwick Island, have already started banning cigarettes on beaches and parks.

The ban went in effect on March 1st.

Town Manager Merritt Burke says they already put up signs at beach access points and at the town's two parks.

"The residents enjoy pristine, clean beaches and I believe most support the ordinance," said Burke.

The ban, Burke says, is part of their effort to educate residents on the potential harmful effects of cigarettes.

Two years ago, Rehoboth Beach banned smoking in six area parks, but not on beaches where you can still see cigarette butts littering the sand.

"At this time a ban is not actively being pursued," said Rehoboth Beach Mayor Samuel Cooper via phone.

But even with a ban in local parks, there hasn't been an issue, according to Rehoboth Beach Chief of Police Keith Banks.

"I think most people respect that around kids, if they're in a park," said Banks.

Unlike Rehoboth, Bethany Beach banned smoking on the town playground, al parks, boardwalk and the majority of the beach.  There are nine smoking stands on the beach.  The ban, which has been in effect since April 2008, lasts on the beach from May 15th-Sept. 15th.

Bethany Beach Mayor Tony McClenny says smokers can light up cigarettes on the beach anytime not during the ban period. According to McClenny, the ban is being well-received and, to his recollection, there has not been any fines handed out.

Fenwick Island was able to secure a grant from the American Lung Association to promote its ban and Dewey officials are looking to get the same thing. We're hearing a decision on this proposal could be made before next month.

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