December 27, 2012
SMOKING ON PUBLIC BEACHES
By: Janet L. Kaminski Leduc, Senior Legislative Attorney
You asked if (1) Connecticut has a policy about smoking on public beaches and (2) any Connecticut municipalities or other states have banned smoking on public beaches.
Connecticut does not prohibit smoking outdoors on state public beaches. According to the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, there is no specific regulation regarding smoking that applies to state parks, including state beaches. But the state's general smoking prohibitions apply. Namely, with limited exceptions, no one may smoke in any state or municipal government building (e.g., offices and bathhouses) (CGS § 19a-342).
East Lyme is the only Connecticut municipality with a smoking ban on public beaches. The ban is not an ordinance, but rather is a Parks and Recreation policy that took effect July 15, 2012.
New London proposed a smoking ban for city parks and beaches in 2012. The ordinance was amended prior to passage on September 4, 2012 to exclude beaches and limit the ban to parks (New London Ordinance 09-04-12-7).
Maine prohibits smoking on or within 20 feet of beaches, playgrounds, and other gathering areas in state parks (Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 22, § 1580-E). It is the only state with such a ban.
For a list of municipalities in the United States that have enacted smoking bans on all or specifically named public beaches, see the American Nonsmokers' Rights Foundation website at http://www.no-smoke.org/pdf/SmokefreeBeaches.pdf.