It goes without saying that smoking bans have been in effect for quite some time. Without question, you already know that you can’t smoke inside a building or restaurant. Meanwhile, a select number of places legally permit smoking indoors. According to NJSA 26:3D-57, these include cigar bars and lounges, as well as some shops selling tobacco products.
Those who absolutely can’t do without a cigarette while inside may have to take a ride down to Atlantic City. Casinos contain dedicated smoking areas. And, of course, you can stay in your own house if you want the luxury of weather-adaptable air conditioning or heat.
You can also smoke in your car if you simply must get your fix. And, despite its best efforts, the Legislature never did get a bill passed that prohibits smokers from smoking in automobiles when children are present. Therefore, you can take the kiddies with you if you need a quick legal break for a cigarette. (This is by no means intended to advocate for and/ or judge anyone who smokes with children in their vehicle.)
In case you are uncertain, vape pens and e-cigarettes, as well as smokeless tobacco products fall under laws banning smoking. As you might guess, cigars and pipes receive no special consideration.
Meanwhile, the idea that you can receive a citation for smoking outside may be foreign to you. In fact, you may only learn of it for the first time when a police officer writes you up for the offense.
Smoking Outside in NJ: Old Laws and New Ones
If you’re a smoker, it’s something you might already know. Smoking outdoors in some places was banned more than a decade ago. According to a section of New Jersey’s Administrative Code, smoking is prohibited on school grounds. This means both inside and outside K-12 schools. The ban applies to both public and non-public schools.
Additionally, New Jersey laws have long disallowed smoking in recreational facilities controlled by municipalities. This includes playgrounds and public swimming pools, such as Walter E. Ulrich Memorial Pool in Rahway River Park.
However, the new smoking ban actually rules out smoking outside in all parks and forests. Historic sites and governmental properties prohibit the use of all things smokable – whether you’re inside and out.
You also can’t light up while you stroll down the boardwalk. And, it doesn’t matter if you hit the shore in Monmouth, Ocean, Atlantic or Cape May counties. New Jersey laws now make smoking illegal on beaches throughout the state.
Penalties for Smoking Outside in NJ
The good news that smoking outside in New Jersey doesn’t represent a criminal offense. Therefore, you won’t have to worry about a criminal record.
However, just one puff can cost you a whole lot of money and suggest you need the assistance of an attorney with experience handling municipal court matters. Fines are broken down as follows:
- $250 for the first offense
- $500 for the second offense
- $1,000 for the third offense
When it comes down to it, the smoking bans in outside areas aren’t just related to protecting others from secondhand exposure to smoke. There’s also the clean up involved with butts and paraphernalia left behind by cigarette and cigar users. Furthermore, smoking outside increases the risk of fire.
If you’re facing charges for any type of municipal court matter, the Law Offices of Beninato & Matrafajlo can assist you. Give us a call to discuss your situation and learn how our representation can help you.