Rehoboth Beach Bans Smoking on Beach, Boardwalk - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Rehoboth Beach Bans Smoking on Beach, Boardwalk

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REHOBOTH BEACH, Del. - It's been about 6 months since Steven Curson started passing around a petition to ban smoking by the beach in Rehoboth. After gathering hundreds of signatures, the city commission took the idea to a vote. Monday, they decided unanimously after months of debate to place a ban on smoking by the beach. 

Smoking bans have already been placed on various beaches throughout the region. There is a total smoking ban on all Delaware State Beaches, as well as in Dewey and Fenwick. Meanwhile, Bethany Beach has a year-long ban on smoking on the boardwalk, and a seasonal one on their beach. 

Now Rehoboth Beach has joined the list, banning smoking on their beach, boardwalk, all parks, and in the bandstand area. Curson, who lead the charge for this change said that it was a good move for the city as a whole. 

"It means that Rehoboth Beach cares about the people who come and visit with us," he said. "And they want to keep their five star rating, and also have a safe environment and clean environment for the people who come and visit." 

The change will cost the city $31,000 for signage, education efforts, and through the addition of cigarette disposal bins. The Department of Health has given the city $15,000 for the project, but the city will be responsible for the remaining $16,000.

City Commissioner Stan Mills said they already allocated $12,000 of this cost. The remaining revenue will be taken from a contingency fund. 

If somebody does light up after the ban starts on May 15, they can face a $25 fine. But Mills said he is hopeful it won't come to that. 

"We believe that education is the key to voluntary compliance," he said.  

Mills said they spoke to a lot of smokers through the process, and to address their concerns, they are providing small smoking areas within the beach. He said there would be less than 20 of them scattered through the beach. These small areas would have a radius of 12 feet, and would be isolated from entrances to the beach. 

"There's been a lot of correspondence on this," he said. "And the non-smokers are all in favor of this. And even the smokers have said 'yeah, we believe it's reasonable, but please give us designated areas.' And we've done that. So, we try to achieve a balance between the smoker and the non-smoker. And I believe we've done that." 

On the boardwalk, Tyler Moore was smoking a cigarette Monday afternoon. He said he could understand the change during the summer, but said the year-round method was unnecessary. 

"In the off season, you really have no families," he said. "You don't really have any crowds out on the boardwalk. Smoking really doesn't bother anybody. I don't see any point in having a ban in the winter time." 

Also on the boardwalk, James Marshall is conflicted. 

"There's nothing I like about smoking," he said. "It offends every sense I have. I hate the litter it creates, I hate the smell, I hate the addiction. There's nothing good about it. But, I also don't like the fact that the government is encroaching in our lives in every aspect of our lives. When does it start and when does it end?"

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