Lawmakers trying to make NJ a totally smoking-free state in 2019
TRENTON — Legislation signed by Gov. Phil Murphy this year prohibiting smoking in all municipal, county and state parks, forests and beaches takes effect Jan. 16.
State Sen. Shirley Turner, D-Mercer, a co-sponsor of the New Jersey Smoke-Free Air Act, doesn’t believe it goes far enough.
She said smoking is bad for the smoker and others around them.
She’s introduced another bill to stop people from smoking in virtually all public spaces, including boardwalks, racetracks, sporting events and amusement parks.
Another bill of hers would ban smoking in casinos. The bill has languished in committee for years because smoking in casinos is a "sacred cow in New Jersey."
She noted people who work in casinos have complained about second-hand smoke for years, but her measure has never been brought up for a vote.
She said the idea here is very straightforward.
“Not only do we need to get the butts off the beach, but we should get cigarette butts off of all the public places, where people bring their families in particular," she said. “This is just an attempt to make New Jersey a smoke-free, clean air state.”
Turner's message to smokers who are upset about being told where they can and cannot light up: Smoke in your car or home.
“People who have to suffer with your smoking, they have a right to have clean air.”
In addition to the smoking restriction law, another law that takes effect next month raises the minimum wage by 25 cents, to $8.85 an hour, thanks to a constitutional amendment that ties the wage to the rate of inflation.