New Hampshire - legislation to ban smoking on beaches filed..

December 7, 2009 - State Rep. Judith Day has filed legislation to ban smoking on beaches in New Hampshire's 23 state parks, an idea she got from neighboring Maine, which this year became the first state to ban smoking on its beaches.

The Maine law's sponsor, Sen. John Nutting, said a mother's complaint prompted the ban. "The 2-year-old daughter was playing at the beach and all of a sudden she realized that her daughter's cheeks looked like a chipmunk's cheeks, just as full and distended as you could get them," said Nutting, D-Leeds. "When she examined the reason for that, her little girl's mouth was plum full of cigarette butts that she'd picked up on the beach from people smoking and discarding."

Another seacoast Democrat, Susan Kepner of Hampton, has filed a similar bill -- but hers also proposes a ban on outdoor smoking in public areas of state parks, such as picnic areas. "So much of our economy is driven through and around with our state parks and being outside," Kepner said. "They're healthy things. This to me is just part of helping New Hampshire residents and guests be healthy."

New Hampshire would be the second state to enact a ban on smoking at state beaches. Puerto Rico also bans smoking on beaches, according to Bronson Frick of the Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights. Frick said almost 100 cities have smoke-free beaches and more than 1,000 cities and a handful of states have outdoor smoking policies ranging from bus stops to business doorways. Frick said reasons for the bans vary from concern over litter from the butts to keeping smoke out of adjacent buildings.

New Hampshire has laws banning indoor smoking in public buildings, grocery stores, public conveyances, hospitals, restaurants and bars. Businesses must segregate smokers from nonsmokers in workplaces with four or more employees.

State Parks Director Ted Austin believes in promoting a healthy lifestyle, but questions who would enforce the bans. Day's bill doesn't include enforcement, a penalty or even signs. Kepner's bill would let park rangers enforce the law. Violators face a fine of up to $50. Signs would be posted around picnic areas, playgrounds and other areas covered by the law. Campsites and hiking trails are exempt.

Reference: Lawmakers considering smoking ban at NH beaches by Norma Love, Associated Press Writer, 12/6/2009.

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February 11, 2010 at 2:58 AM

So, because a parent can't be bothered to watch her child and keep her from eating trash, NH needs more legislation restricting freedom and costing taxpayers more money in these hard economic times? If the child had a mouth full of seaweed, would the politicians be trying to ban ocean flora?