Wrightsville Beach, NC - board backs smoking ban on beach..

March 3, 2010 - Wrightsville, NC Beach board backs smoking ban on beach. A state law went into effect on January 2, 2010 that banned smoking in bars and restaurants also allows municipalities to enact their own stricter bans.

Alderwoman Susan Collins wonders how the smoking ban can be enforced. If the alcohol ban on the strand can't be enforced, she asked, how could smoking be stopped? She added that she didn't want to burden lifeguards by adding cigarette patrols to their duties. Town Manager Bob Simpson said the no-alcohol ban is enforced "to the best of our ability."

Alderwoman Lisa Weeks said a smoking ban would discourage smokers. "If we can deter half the people from smoking," she said, the effort would be worthwhile.

Mayor David Cignotti said that a public hearing should be set on the topic.

If family-friendly Wrightsville Beach passed a smoking ban for the strand, it would be the first beach town in North Carolina with such a policy, although Sally Malek, a tobacco coordinator with the N.C. Division of Public Health, said that Buncombe County has banned smoking on all county-owned property, including parks. Surfside City in South Carolina has a beach smoking ban, according to Erin Morrissette, the tobacco prevention coordinator for New Hanover, Pender and Brunswick counties.

In North Carolina the tobacco industry has traditionally been one of the most important industries in North Carolina and a backbone of the state's agricultural heritage.

Reference: Wrightsville Beach board backs smoking ban on beach by Patricia E. Matson (Citydesk@StarNewsOnline.com), Star News Online, 3/1/2010.