Lighting up a cigarette on the beach in Ocean City may soon be banned by leaders in the summer resort mecca.
Eight million people visit Ocean City every year, which means beaches are crowded during the summer months. Some City Council members say they don’t want non-smokers to take in secondhand smoke by the water.
“This is very disturbing to a lot of people. I don’t like it personally when I’m on the beach,” Brent Ashley, Ocean City councilman, told WJZ TV.
If Ashley has his way, smoking on the beach will soon be illegal and carry a fine.
“We get complaints about the secondhand smoke. People who use the beach don’t want their kids to be exposed to the secondhand smoke,” Ashley said.
Other residents say an outright ban on smoking goes too far.
“I don’t think it would actually be that bad out here on the beach with all the open air and stuff,” said Richard Rinker, Ocean City resident.
If the smoking ban is approved, the town would have to figure out how police officers would enforce the new ban. Delaware’s state beaches, Dewey, Rehoboth and Fenwick, are smoke-free, WJZ notes.
While some Ocean City business owners are expected to oppose the smoking ban, Councilman Ashley says the city will gain more tourists who favor smoke-free beaches than will be lost by a no-smoking policy.
The proposed smoking ban will likely be discussed at the April 16 City Council work session.