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WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC (WWAY) — Wrightsville Beach is one step closer to enforcing a smoking ban.

During a special meeting Thursday, the Wrightsville Beach Board of Aldermen unanimously voted to put the ban to a public vote.

Taking the butts off the beach has been a long-term effort for Danielle Richardet, who has collected tens of thousands of washed up cigarettes and helped organize a petition that led aldermen to bring a smoking ban to a public vote.

“The ball is rolling and something is going to happen with this,” Richardet says. “I am excited either way. I’ll be out all summer cleaning the beach and Surf Rider will be out rallying everyone to get to the polls so I think it’s going to be an exciting election.”

If approved in November, Wrightsville Beach would become the first beach in North Carolina to prohibit smoking. But even if it does pass, some say the town would have issues enforcing the ban.

A smoking ban can only be enforced on town-controlled property. Colin Eagles, who lives in Wrightsville Beach, says the defining line between town and state property changes with the tides.

“It’s going to be impossible,” says Eagles. “If you go out there at low tide and you’re in the area that’s dry below where it had been wet at high tide, then you’re on a section of the beach where there is no smoking ban and the town has no authority to impose one.”

Though the ban could be a landmark ordinance for the state, Eagles says it’s just not worth it.

“If you leave your cigarette butt, you can be fined $250 today,” he says. “We don’t need an ordinance to deal with that.”

Aldermen voted 3-2 against the proposed ban ordinance. If the ban passes smokers who light up on the beach could be given a $250 fine.

Comment on this Story

  • cintrek

    Quit you’re belly aching & grow up. Pick up after yourself, your children, pets, etc. & realize your mama ain’t gonna do it, then we wouldn’t be having these conversations. Waisting time/money on what your parents should have already taught you. Common courtesy & respect of our public spaces go a long way in making life a whole lot less stressful.


    I’m a hardcore right wing conservative…I’m lovin’ it! All these “it’s my right to smoke where I want when I want no matter who it affects” idiots can stick their reeking ashtray smelling self and deal with it! Wonder if this will make the editors cut…probably not.

  • BillytheThinker

    My understanding is that Wrightsville Beach is a public beach and as such it belongs to the state of North Carolina. If that is the case, shouldn’t any citizen of NC be allowed to vote on these types of regulations not just the town of Wrightsville Beach? Is this proposal even legal? I live 4 miles from a public beach, but I can’t vote on the ban? Something doesn’t seem right here. The town of Wrightsville Beach does not “own” the public beach, do they?

  • GuestDog

    Okay WB Elected Officials. It appears as though you are making it official, let’s close the beaches to all but the elite!!!!! As the general statutes require, you will only be able to enforce the ordinance on Town owned property. Heard of the high water mark? The beach belongs to ALL people and therefore not all owned by WBNC. I have been going there for over 35 years and it used to be a great place. I quit going in the summer when the parking fees started and now this is loooming on the horizon.
    I am not smoker but feel that if they want to smoke in public then that’s their right. Remember we do have a constitution to ensure that. What about drinking alcohol in public? Isn’t that against the law and as such maybe they need to police that as well as noise better.
    WB elected, concentrate on more IMPORTANT matters like your budget instead of paying for an item on the ballot. You have more troublesome issues to be concerned over

  • Guest6979

    Just goes to show you how many people know the rules of WB. Alcohol is already banned.

  • Guest7969

    law will do NOTHING..wanna smoke?…just go stand in ankle deep water and there is absolutely NOTHING they can do about it! This is nothing more than ANOTHER DO NOTHING LAW to make someone feel all fuzzy.

  • robo

    I am not a smoker and do not like it when cigarette butts are left on the beach. But this is a much larger issue than smoking. It is about whether an individual community can control all actions on a public beach. This is a state issue, not a local one. Personally, I stay away from Wrightsville Beach already due to their parking charges and fines.

  • Daryl D

    I don’t smoke, 3x cancer survivor.

    I think smoking SHOULD be allowed on a beach. Whats next?

    We lose more of our rights everyday!

    Nobody owns the beach.
    Just my 2 cents!


  • Roscer

    Why not just enforce the LITTERING LAW ??????
    Geeeeze, no fines for trashing the beach with day-camp leftovers; but light up a cig and have 4 quadrunners on your butt?? How PC

  • Guest22

    What’s next? An outdoor cook out.

  • Guest111

    I think next to go should be alcohol and beer. They are much more dangerous than smoking to the people on the beach and the drive home. Going to start checking into this tomorrow. Smoking is bad but drunks are worse.

  • Guest2020

    With Wrightsville Beach wanting to ban smoking and Wilmington wanting to charge non-residents to go to the parks, maybe business will boom for Pleaasure Island.

  • Guest?

    Wilmington is charging to go to their parks?

  • nyyankeegirl

    Go ahead and ban smokers at Wrightsville Beach! While you’re at it, keep raising the fees to park there! We’ll be happy to take your tourist business/revenue at our beaches, shops and restaurants on Topsail Island!!! ;o)

  • Guest111

    I think it’s time to put a ban on drinking on the beach. It’s a family place and people drinking, getting drunk, yelling, cursing and creating trouble is not a good example for the children there. Plus, a lot of them drive away very intoxicated and are a danger on the roads going home. Going to start some calls tomorrow to see how this could be done. May even contact those who started the no smoking ban. Alcohol free beach is just as important, if not more so, than smoking.

  • Guest7969

    WIN…its already a law…

    Taken from the WB Police website..

    “Public consumption of alcoholic beverages is limited to private property. Consumption on public property or the possession of an open container on public property is prohibited.”

    Education…ain’t it wonderful!

  • Guestburp

    already illegal to drink on the beach. however if you are not being an drunken idiot and flaunt your beverage it is normally overlooked.

  • Their are too many butts on Wrightsville Beach. And smokers too.

  • Debbie Condrey

    I am a smoker but I have no problem with smoking being banned if it bothers other people. However, I do believe if we are going to open this can of worms we should also open another.

    I am a regular beach goer and drinking alcholic beverages on the beach bothers me. I believe that they should be banned. Intoxication has no place on the beach it is dangerous to those consuming and those around them. Not only the behavioral issues at hand but also swimming, surfing, etc. while intoxicated. There are people who become intoxicated with their children with them and are negligent to their children.

    Also, if litter is a factor with the smoking ban, I can’t remember the last time I was at the beach and did not see beer bottles/cans left in the dunes or on the strand.

    If we are going to start infringing on the rights of other because of litter or because a few people are bothered let it be a fair game.

  • SouthEastNC

    Alcohol has been banned from WB for several years. That doesn’t keep everyone from drinking there, but it does work as a deterrent. I know 2 people last month that got Open Container tickets at WB… if they take beers out there again, next time they’ll be discreet.

  • SouthEastNC

    That sounds well and good, but how do you enforce that? The guys who are patrolling looking for alcohol consumption/dogs/etc… are they supposed to stop every time they see someone smoking a cigarette and wait until that person is done to see whether or not he/she disposes of the butt properly?

  • Tired of Ignorance

    I think that the smoking ban is really about the litter on the beach…there is a law against that already. And if Im not mistaken, alcohol is already “not allowed” but as long as it’s not “seen” and people are behaving, the authorities do not make a big stink over it. However, I don’t like babies in diapers on the beach, nor do I like potato chip bags and people feeding seagulls, or plastic sandwich bags, or drinks in a can, or umbrellas that are not secure, or towels that when picked up throw sand everywhere, or Wrightsville Beach residents who think that WB is their private beach! We are losing our freedoms daily based on small groups of self-righteous jerks, so when it happens to you…don’t complain. – A non-smoker

  • good grief already

    Here here!

  • SouthEastNC

    I think that unfortunately, a smoking ban is the only way we’ll be able to cut down on the cigarette butt litter. WB only has jurisdiction for this ban down to the High Water Line. From the High Water Line to the water, the State has jurisdiction. When the ban is passed, WB will ask our local Rep or Senator to introduce a bill where the State grants WB the ability to extend the smoking ban all the way to the water.

    What we’re probably going to find is that the entrance to every public beach access (the closest point for a beach-goer to walk where he/she will be able to smoke) is going to have a serious cigarette butt problem because that’s where everyone is going to walk to, stop, smoke, and throw their butts on the ground before heading back out to the beach.

    I think the ordinance has to go on the November ballot “as is”, but after it is passed then the Board of Alderman can amend it as they so choose. One of the first things I hope they do is designate a Smoking Area at each beach access – which will be a certain radius (maybe 10 yards) around the trash receptacles that are at each beach access. People can smoke next to the trash can, put their butt out in the sand, and discard it appropriately.

  • SouthEastNC

    Turns out that the Board can’t amend any ordinance voted by referendum for 2 years…. so nevermind on that.

  • Guest2020

    The Wilmington Idiot Council is talking about it.

  • Guest?

    Where did you see that? I had heard about charging groups a small fee for races and marathons but not for entry into a park.

  • Guest211



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