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Belmar Beaches, Boardwalk To Go Smoke-Free As Of Memorial Day

Beachgoers visit the beach and boardwalk on May 27, 2013 in Belmar, N.J. (credit: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)

Beachgoers visit the beach and boardwalk on May 27, 2013 in Belmar, N.J. (credit: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)

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BELMAR, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) – Beachgoers will be able to breathe easier on Belmar‘s beaches and boardwalk starting this summer.

A year-round smoking ban in the Jersey Shore town will take effect on Memorial Day weekend.

“It’s about time. We probably should have done this sooner,” Mayor Matt Doherty told WCBS 880’s Levon Putney. “It makes sense from both a litter perspective and also a health perspective.”

Smoking is already banned in bars, restaurants, public parks and stadiums in New Jersey.

“In a lot of ways, we’re catching up with other public places,” said Doherty.

The town had previously allowed smoking in designated areas. Doherty said that didn’t work, noting that cigarette filters are always among the most common items of trash found in the sand.

Doherty also said that wind carries the smoke “and it goes much further than you would anticipate.”

Electronic cigarettes are not part of the ban.

“E-cigarettes really don’t cause any litter,” said the mayor.

Violators will face a $25 fine.

A bill that would ban smoking on all public beaches and parks in the state has cleared the Assembly and awaits a vote in the state Senate.

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