Gov. Chris Christie on Wednesday vetoed a measure to limit smoking in the state’s parks and beaches, arguing the issue is better left to local officials to decide.
“While I appreciate the sponsors’ concerns regarding the health risks poses by smoking and secondhand smoke,” he wrote in his veto message, “I am not persuaded that a prescriptive, one-size-fits-all state ban on smoking in public parks and beaches is advisable at this time.”
Smoking would have been banned at parks and limited at beaches under the bill approved by the state Senate and Assembly in June. It garnered overwhelming support in both chambers.
The bill aimed to reduce secondhand smoke exposure, cut down on litter and curtail fire risks. Violators would have been fined at least $250 for a first offense and up to $1,000 for repeated violations.