Carolina Beach moves to be first to ban smoking on beachfront

Carolina Beach would be first to make lighting up illegal along shore

mquillin@newsobserver.comAugust 15, 2012 

Carolina Beach may become the first smokeless strand of sand on the state’s 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 legislature’s approval for the measure, because it’s not clear whether the town or the state has jurisdiction over the beach.

That means the rule wouldn’t go into effect until at least next near.

The idea came up at the board’s 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. “I’ve 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 he’s 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, ‘That’s ridiculous,’ ” Shuttleworth said. “Of course, they’ll come. We may even get more visitors.”

Quillin: 919-829-8989

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