Summit makes public smoking ban visible

Photo by Brian Trusdell
A no smoking sign greets visitors at the the entrance to Summit’s Glenside Field. The signs went up at seven city parks in response to the statewide NJ Smoke Free Act that went into effect on Jan. 16.

SUMMIT, NJ — The city is sending a message to would-be smokers in its parks and athletic facilities.
No smoking signs were installed at Soldiers Memorial Field, Investors Bank Field, Wilson Park, Long Field, Glenside Field, Mabie Memorial Playground and the Summit Village Green, the city announced in a March 14 press release. The smoking ban will be enforced by the Summit Police Department. Fines are $250 for a first offense, $500 for a second offense and $1,000 for all further violations.

According to the release, the signs are in response to the NJ Smoke-Free Air Act NJSA 26:3D-55, which took effect Jan. 16.

The signs follow Gov. Phil Murphy’s signing into law a ban on smoking in outdoor public spaces, such as beaches and parks, in July. Murphy characterized the move as finishing off the New Jersey Smoke-Free Air Act in 2006, which banned smoking in workplaces, bars, restaurants and other indoor public places. Certain establishments, such as hotels, motels, casinos and cigar bars and lounges, are exempt.

Murphy said he hoped the law would help clean up the state’s beaches and keep them free from cigarette butts. Gov. Chris Christie vetoed similar legislation at least twice, saying each shore town should make its own decision on the matter.

Messages left for police Chief Robert Weck and Lt. Rick Proctor, of the city’s patrol unit, seeking comment about whether the department has issued any fines since the law went into effect were not returned by press time this week.