Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Bethany Beach, a popular Delaware vacation spot, is drafting legislation to ban smoking on its beach and boardwalk.

The town council, with one member absent, deadlocked Friday in a 3-3 vote on a proposal to completely ban smoking on the boardwalk and restrict smoking on the beach to seven or eight areas to be determined by the town manager.

The council then voted 5-1 to draft legislation that would ban smoking on the boardwalk and the beach from May 15 to Sept. 15. If passed, the law would take effect no later than June 1.

More beach towns are considering outdoor smoking bans, mainly because of environmental concerns over discarded cigarette butts, said Robert Berger, president of Healthier Solutions Inc. in Santa Monica, Calif. Cigarette butts, which are toxic, are the single biggest litter problem found in beach cleanups, Mr. Berger said.

More than 15,000 cigarette butts were collected during Delaware’s Coastal Cleanup in September, according to the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control.

Nearly all California beaches are smoke-free, and the Surfside Beach Town Council passed South Carolina’s first smoking ban last summer.

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