Carolina Beach may become the first smokeless strand of sand on the states coastline.
The town council voted 4-1 at its regular meeting Tuesday night in favor of an ordinance that would prohibit smoking on the beach. On the advice of their attorney, town officials will seek the state legislatures approval for the measure, because its not clear whether the town or the state has jurisdiction over the beach.
That means the rule wouldnt go into effect until at least next near.
The idea came up at the boards July meeting, where it was presented largely as an image issue for a town that promotes itself as friendly to families. Cigarette butts and second-hand smoke, ordinance supporters said, are not family-friendly.
Over the next few weeks, council members had a chance to hear from residents and tourists.
The response was kind of overwhelming, said councilman Bob Lewis. Ive had people talking to me, emailing me and calling me, and they nearly all want to have a smoke-free environment on the beach.
Only the mayor, Ray Rothrock, voted against the ordinance, saying the litter issue could be handled some other way.
At least one other North Carolina beach is considering a smoking ban on the beachfront; Wrightsville Beach voters will decide whether to approve one when they go to the polls in November.
Carolina Beach councilman Steve Shuttleworth said hes talked to beach visitors, including some who smoke, and asked if they would still come if they were discouraged from smoking while they bask on the sand.
They say, Thats ridiculous, Shuttleworth said. Of course, theyll come. We may even get more visitors.