May 12, 2010

Wilmington Star: Wrightsville Beach holds smoking ban hearing Thursday

By Patricia E. Matson
Published: Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Wrightsville Beach will hold a hearing and might vote Thursday on whether to ban smoking along the shoreline.

First raised at a candidates' forum in October by a resident who hates the cigarette butts left behind by smokers, the possible ban was also discussed during the aldermen's retreat in February.

Some smokers visiting the beach this week strongly opposed the idea.

“I think banning smoking on the beach is too far an approach into people's lives,” said Scott Walker of Raleigh. “What's next? I want to ban people talking on cell phones on the beach.”

He said he was a “staunch opponent to littering” and carries his butts away, and even picks up others' trash to leave the beach a better place...

But other beachgoers supported a ban.

“I'd be thrilled if there were a ban,” said Lynn Dilen of Cary, who recently got a headache from a nearby smoker.

“I think that's a good idea. … There's butts all over the place,” said Gregg Dilen.

Marc Crocco, Spencer Robinson and Spencer Percy, who just graduated from Wingate University, supported the idea.
“I want it to be clean,” said Crocco...

Read the Full Article

As for my two cents, I support the ban. Cigarette butts on the beach have been a pet peeve of mine for years. I'm forever dismayed when I see smokers use public beaches as an oversized ashtray. Don't these people know how to field strip a cigarette and take the butts with them? Unfortunately, many don't or they just don't care.

If this was strictly just a litter issue, I probably wouldn't support the initiative. Disgarding cigarette butts on the beach is littering and violators can be ticketed (if it was actually enforced). But cigarette butts are also a danger to sea life/sea birds and can cause serious harm. So not only are butts a public nuisance, they are a hazard as well and we should be proactive in ensuring that they do not end up on our beaches. If you want to know the scope of the problem, talk to anyone who has volunteered for the various beach cleaning events that take place throughout the year. Cigarette butts always make up the majority of the litter removed from area beaches.

As a former smoker myself, I understand the frustrations of smokers as they are being slowly forced away from public areas. But unfortunately for them, it just a sign of the times as more and more people become concerned by the secondary effects of cigarettes.

Side notes:

The Wilmington Star has an editorial on the issue and they do not support the ban although they feel it might be a good idea to have smoking/non smoking areas on the beach. Read here.

This 12 year old has her own very creative idea on how to solve the problem. Read here.

Don't let this fellow catch you flicking your butts on the Island. Read here.

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