- Associated Press - Thursday, May 26, 2016

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - Lawmakers in New Jersey have sent a measure to Gov. Chris Christie’s desk to ban smoking at public beaches and parks.

The state Assembly and Senate approved the measure on Thursday. Christie vetoed an attempt to ban smoking at beaches and parks in September 2014.

He said on his regular call-in radio show on 101.5 FM Wednesday night that he doesn’t see why the decision to ban smoking shouldn’t be left to towns across the state.

“This is saying even if you don’t want to prohibit smoking on your beach you must,” Christie said.

Senate President Steve Sweeney said he doesn’t want to see the state’s beaches used as an ash tray.

“Just because it’s sand doesn’t mean you drop your butts in it,” he said. “There are thousands of cigarette butts on those beaches, and you got kids playing with them. You know they’ve been in people’s mouths.”

The ban would allow towns to set aside up to 15 percent of a beach for smoking. The ban also would not apply to parking lots adjacent to public parks or beaches.

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