TRENTON — Senator Shirley K. Turner (D-Mercer, Hunterdon) issued the following statement on the governor’s veto of legislation she sponsored to ban smoking at public parks and beaches. The bill, S-1772, would have expanded New Jersey’s Smoke Free Act to include public beaches and state, county and municipal parks. It would have allowed municipalities and counties to set aside up to 15 percent of a beach as a smoking area:
“The governor’s veto is more than disappointing. Because of his action, families who visit our public beaches and parks will continue to suffer unnecessary exposure to cigarettes and other tobacco products.
“Public beaches and parks should be smoke free, places where families and children can enjoy outdoor activities free from the harmful effects of second-hand smoke. Eliminating smoking in these public places is common sense, especially given the dangerous and harmful effects of second-hand smoke that are well-documented and widely known.
“Considering that the overall costs to New Jersey for smoking-related diseases is an estimated $3 billion per year, this is a state issue, not a ‘local issue’ as the governor claims. This bill is in the interest of New Jersey’s finances and public health and should to be addressed at the state level.
“New Jersey should be leading efforts to promote good, healthy habits that help save lives, promote public health and reduce healthcare costs, not ignoring well-known health risks to the detriment of our children and families.”
Senator Turner was the first legislator to introduce a bill to ban smoking in bars and restaurants and sponsor of the Smoke Free Air Act signed into law in 2006