NJ bans smoking on beaches

LONG BRANCH, N.J. (AP) -- New Jersey's governor has signed a bill banning smoking at public beaches and parks unless local communities explicitly opt out and set aside a small smoking section.

Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy was in Long Branch on Friday morning to sign a measure that was passed by the state Legislature last month.

Like previous versions of the bill that have failed, the bill doesn't specify who would be responsible for enforcing it: lifeguards, police or someone else.

Murphy said it shouldn't be lifeguards, but left it to towns to decide enforcement.

The bill takes effect in six months and allows for designated smoking areas of 15 percent of a beach.

Smokers also would be allowed to light up in parking lots.

Fines would start at $250 for a first offense and go up to $1,000 for a third offense.

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