South Bethany Town Council Votes to Ban Smoking on Its Beaches - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

South Bethany Town Council Votes to Ban Smoking on Its Beaches

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SOUTH BETHANY, Del. - The South Bethany Town Council Voted 5-1 in favor of banning smoking on the town's beaches Friday night.

The ordinance approved would ban smoking on the town's beaches and pedestrian dune crossings. Councilman Frank Weisgerber brought forth the ordinance, and says, prior to tonight's vote, South Bethany was the only beach town in Delaware that still allowed smoking on the beach.

"We've been watching the dominoes fall along the coast and we finally decided to step up and follow through on it," he says.

Weisgerber says his intention with the ordinance is to encourage health and stop secondhand smoke, something that he personally saw the effects of.

"Ever since I moved here, it's been something that kind of bothered me," he tells WBOC. "I lost my mom as well as my mother in law to lung cancer and neither one of them smoked...if you're sitting on the blanket on the beach and someone is smoking and you're downwind from them, you also get the impact of that smoke."

Per town protocol, the ordinance was read twice at two past council meetings and has been up for public comment. Weisgerber expected the vote to ban smoking would go in his favor. He says they've only heard positive things, and 70 percent of homeowners asked about the ban in a regular survey said they were for it.

 "There are a lot of property owners who have thanked me for this," he says. "I joined the council because I enjoy our community and I just wanted to give something back. This is an opportunity." 

The ordinance goes into effect Saturday. Offenders will first receive a warning, and then have to pay a $50 fine. Signs will be added to the beach and existing signs at dune crossing entrances will be revised. Weisgerber says groups like the  American Lung Association have reached out and offered to help pay for advertising or signs related to the ordinance. 

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