FIRST ON 3: Reactions mixed as Carolina Beach considers smoking ban on beach


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Submitted: Thu, 07/05/2012 - 9:26pm
Updated: Fri, 07/06/2012 - 5:43pm By:

CAROLINA BEACH, NC (WWAY) — Another area beach town is considering snuffing smoking on the sand. The Town of Carolina Beach wants public input next week on whether to ban smoking on the beach.

Folks we spoke with have mixed feelings.

“I don’t think we should be Gestapo,” said Lou Belo, who is against a smoking ban on the beach. “It’s outside, it’s no problem, if people would only clean up after themselves.

“I’m not a smoker, but I’d support it,” Keith Hargrave said. “I mean, I walk up and down the beach. You can look in the sand right here there’s cigarette butts all over the place. People don’t respect the rules.”

The town council will hold a public hearing on a possible smoking ban at the beach during its next meeting Tuesday.

Debate over a smoking ban at the beach is nothing new. In november, Wrightsville Beach residents will have a chance to vote yea or nay for a smoking ban along their shores.

Carolina Beach Councilman Lonnie Lashley put the item on next week’s agenda after getting several complaints from residents. He would not talk to us on camera, but he says it has nothing to do with Wrightsville Beach.

Reactions to the debate were mixed at Carolina Beach, but one woman had an interesting viewpoint.

“It would be great,” Sheila Siebert said. “Even though I smoke.”

Siebert has smoked for years. She feels a ban at beach would help clean up both the air and water.

“I’m trying to kick the habit,” she said. “I’m working toward it, and I know it’s not healthy for none of us.”

The public can give their feedback during the town council meeting Tuesday night. The meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. at Carolina Beach Town Hall.

In the “Request for Town Council Action,” Town Manager Tim Owens suggests the town attorney determine if the town has the authority to impose a smoking ban on the beach under state law. He also writes that council need to figure out ho such a ban would be enforced.

41 Comments

  • frank walker says:

    smokers rights,sorry i mean all of our rights,liberty and freedoms are little by little being taken by pompous people who think everybody else is suppose to be like them and impose their ways of thinking on everyone else.thank god not everybody is alike.i dont mess with you,dont mess with me.id dare to say that if you can smell cigarette smoke in the air,outside on a clear breezy carolina beach day,you have problems much worse than my smoking a cigarette.

  • Runningbare says:

    And your “life liberty and the pursuit of happiness” is more important than non-smokers? You are more important than innocent children breathing your toxins? When you can keep your intentionally generated pollutants out of my lungs, and lungs of my children, then you can smoke all you want. We have as much right to be there as you do. And our “life, liberty and pursuit of happiness” means we get to breathe the clean ocean air.

  • Guest A says:

    There are no smoking bans currently on NC Beaches. I do not understand why you say there is intolerance. And studies show, smoke-free beaches enjoy increases in revenue because families are requesting more and more smoke-free areas for their kids to play.

  • Guest A says:

    Cigarette smoking is dangerous to children and others, no matter how you try to justify it. Non-smokers have rights and as soon as smokers learn to contain their smoke, then by all means… puff away. But as soon as the smoke leaves your cigarette, it is pollution that can effect others. To say otherwise shows how little regard you have for others’ LIFE… not to mention, Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness.

    If you want to smoke on the beach, you might as well take all the kids from the elementary school and pick about three of them and say… you, you and you don’t matter…. asthma, can’t breathe well because of my smoke… who cares? I don’t.

    In addition, the life guards deserve a smoke-free work environment. My son is a life guard and he is constantly annoyed because he is having to breathe cigarette smoke. Its a distraction. Plus, when it comes to having to go on a rescue, they will be able to hold their breath longer without taking in a big huff of smoke before they dive in…. think about it. You want someone going on a rescue with distressed lungs from your smoke? Seriously? Have some regard for someone other than yourself.

  • Guest2020 says:

    If you don’t like how things are done, then you are welcome to stay away.

  • ChefnSurf says:

    Smoking, outside, with a sea breeze? I can’t really see that as harmful to others. What Carolina Beach should ban is littering; that’s where the problem is.

    Not sure why so many smokers (not all, but far too many)think it’s perfectly OK to toss their used cancer sticks wherever they please. Look down at the ground by a red light and you’ll find a pile of butts. Parking lot: They dump out the entire ashtray. The beach, any beach: These pigs think the whole area IS the ashtray. If there was a pill that would cause a smoker to jam the used butt up his/her nose every time they tried to carelessly toss one away, I’d be for it.

    However ……..

    Carolina Beach has prohibited dogs on the beach during the summer season for years, yet that law is rarely enforced. If enforcement officials can’t even seem to see a dog, how will they ever spot something as small as cigarette butt?

    Makes no sense to put unenforcable laws on the books just because they’re politically correct. There’s enough of that nonsense going on already.

  • Mky Jct Voter says:

    Wonderful idea! We go there to breath clean ocean air. Never fails – we find a spot where no one is smoking and then a group of smokers come and spread out next to us and we have to move. Sometimes we just leave! Of course there are always people who won’t follow the rules but if a posted ban would help and then we could tell people there is a ban.

  • Guest Question says:

    Stand in the water below the high tide line and smoke…no ones property. Just don’t throw your butts in the H2O. Speaking of Butts>…While they are at it, enforce a rule where you can’t take a leak or go #2 in the water…bad for the fish and bad for the digestive system!

  • lynne says:

    This is getting ridiculous. People should pick up after themselves no matter what it is. Smokers are getting blamed for everything. Next it will be for global warming. Needed: an ordinance to ban music on the beach since it is not to everyone’s liking and the noise may hurt someone’s ears. Then food, because that litters. Children-they kick up sand on people’s blankets;carts-they take up too much room on the beach. I could go on and on, but I think you get the picture.
    This country is being ruined because of all the regulations and laws that infringe on liberties.

  • Guest705 says:

    Cigarette filters are toxic to wildlife or small children who put them in their mouths. If smokers throw these onto our beaches then they should lose the right to smoke on our beaches.

    As for enforcement, most people down here obey the law. Its a nice place to come. For those that don’t, the town could probably make some revenue by hiring summer help to ticket violators. Honestly, I’d be happy to just see them ticket the butt tossers.

  • Guest6969696969 says:

    That some-one “inventive”, In addition if I remember Correctly, that Carolina Beach spent monies on having this *Unique* Trash/scraper, that could “screen” the sand on the beach, picking up trash, but leaving shells/ clean Sand behind? being towed By a tractor or something of a sort?…
    WWAY Look into it, I remember the, Red Star Articals of this back in the day, (Late 80’s)reporting about it, what-ever happened to the Machinery?….
    Besides, yes, I smoke, (wish I didn’t), I wish I could quit.. Though when I do frequent the beach, (Surf-Fishing), I take My BUTTS & (other’s) trash w/me,Cans/Cups/Trash/*Tents*/Cans, KIDS TOYS…. Though I take care,disposing of MY BUTTS in My pocket…
    Don’t say, I can’t smoke on the BEACH….
    If your going to do this,, BAN PEOPLE.. NON-SMOKERS & SMOKERS alike, your using up 02 & Leaving C02 behind…
    Leave it to THE BIRDS & TURTLES, is that what Ya’ll Leftest/Progressive, Eco Freaks want right????
    NEXT FOLKS it WILL Be banning SURF Fishing…. It’s (for the childern ya know),, opps Turtles & Birds…

    Folks, Bottom,line is this, reguardless if you smoke or Not, visiting the beach, It’s as Simple as this, take your trash Back WITH YOU.. Simple Solution….
    To those whom say, I don’t wanna smell…. smoke, well Let Me come upwind from ya with a huge bag of ROTTEN Shrimp, you gonna ban people fishing with rotten shrimp? Hey, I don’t like ya’ll SURFERS, putting on a f-in TON of SUNSCREEN & blockers/tanning OILS thats PETROLEUM BASED creating a OIL SHEEN on the water???? (i DON’T LIKE THE SMELL OF COCONUTS, i’M ALLERGIC TO THEM) can I BAN YA’LL FROM THE BEACH????
    nuff said think on that, for awhile…

  • Guest6969696969 says:

    and then we could tell people there is a ban.

    Would that make you feel all better? telling people What They can DO?? Their CHOICE?
    YOU FASCIST much?, bet your against GUNS TOO?
    Ever thought of Moving *Up-wind* therefore leaving people @ peace?… OH BUT NO>>>, You gotta Impose your thoughts & Ideas upon others… people like you are Threats too Life, Liberty & Pursuit of Happyness…eg the Constitution..

  • B M says:

    I think it’s high time there should be a deposit put on cigarette butt’s, for starters .25cents, reason being every smoker I have seen throws their butt’s out of their cars and boat’s and etc…, the beach’s are trashed, the waterway’s are trashed, parking lot’s are trashed, even your private property is trashed, put a deposit on those butts and at least someone will pick them up or quit throwing them out for the rest of us to have to pick up, by the way, if I throw out a can I get a ticket, how many times a day does a LE just look the other way on a smoker???? I for one am tired of picking up after these people! Do they throw their butt’s in their own yard?

  • GuestReality says:

    “Life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness” is in the Declaration of Independence, not the Constitution; and your comment was way too harsh a response for a poster who was just posting her opinion. She’s entitled to her own opinion, just as you are.

  • ChefnSurf says:

    Everybody hates us! Nobody likes us! Waa waa waa! Just blame EVERYTHING on us! Waa waa waa! Keep on saying stuff like that and you won’t have to worry about being blamed for global warming. You’ll be blamed for propagating global stupidity.

    The issue is actually pretty simple. There are far too many cigarette butts left in the sand and that’s just not right. If you took the time to count, you’d find there are more butts than other individual pieces of other types of litter. Why do so many smokers feel it’s OK to do that? Probably because an individual butt just doesn’t feel all that consequential by itself. They’re wrong, and it’s wrong. I have friends at the beach who smoke and every one of them put their discarded butts into a container that’s disposed of later. If more smokers did that, this wouldn’t be a problem. If that actually happened, we wouldn’t even be talking about this now, and we are!

    If you ever get over your own personal pity party, it would be nice if you decided to become part of the solution instead of part of the problem.

  • Guest757 says:

    This law can never be enforced. You can not stop anyone for smoking along the water line so it’s all just a waste of time.. It just gives people something to bi*#h about

  • Guest 10101 says:

    NEVER fails? EVERYTIME you go to the beach a group of smokers moves near you. SO CLOSE that even with the constant sea breeze, the smoke bothers you? EVERYTIME?

    With the majority of the population being non-smokers, how can that possibly be the case? Do smokers look for you and move next to you on purpose? Do you also get struck by lightning often?

    So now you want a ban just so you could TELL people there’s a ban?

    I don’t smoke and I’m against cigarette butt litter, but there’s only one way to describe your comments.

    What a giant pile of stupid !!!

  • MBGuest says:

    We are visiting Wilmington at the end of the month for vacation. Seriously, people smoke on Carolina Beach? I don’t want to pay to vacation there and then have to leave due to smokers and gross pollution.

  • fish fan says:

    Let’s ban drinking at the north end oh wait! the town made 800k there last year I live across the street from the beach. folks this is a working class beach if you want to go to a beach that has no smoking you now have a choice why do all the beach communities imitate one another. I chose to live in CB because it is a working class town I have seen this town change over the years and not to disparage anyone but it is due to outsiders with money moving in and the ridicoulous real estate debaucle of 05 this place used to be a place that everone knew each other for better or for worse we acted as nieghbors now I hardly ever see a familar face it is quite sad that our little redneck riviera has been sold off and marked down as progress does anyone remember fishing on the north end before it became the hell hole it is now? you cannot cast a line ine the water without hitting some half drunk out of towner . The folks that have lived here for the past twenty years are getting pushed aside everyday by the vocal minority. they park in your yards and block your driveways and piss on your house when they walk down the steet hammered. what happened to our town? it has been tuned into some thing completly differant by too many carpet baggers. Quite frankly the old timers do not care what wrightville beach does just leave us alone or better yet just leave.

  • Guest42 says:

    It cannot be enforced therefore the ban is a waste of time,even thinking about a ban on this so stupid that most smokers will laugh at it,as they should.I f you dont like the smoke then just leave.

  • really? says:

    You could tell people there is a ban? you really think that will work?
    I for one would laugh in your face..This BAN means nothing,it will still be legal to smoke there!!! you cannot ticket,arrest anyone for smoking on the beach…near the water….this whole idea of a ban is a waste of time.Because law enforcement cannot do a thing about it period!!

  • Bobbie Herald says:

    Three years ago I started making vacation plans to the mountains and South Carolina. I usually spend quite a bit of money on my annual vacation however, because of smoking it became a hastle to try to visit the NC beaches.

    I never litter with cigarette butts but make sure I have something to put them in. I try to be considerate of people around me. The intolerence of people in North Carolina is forcing people to spend their money in other States. If your tourist income is such that you can afford to lose the smokers just keep on because you lost me 3 years ago.

    I would suggest putting a large fine on littering.

    Bobbie Herald

  • Guest211 says:

    SMOKING ON THE BEACH IS NEWS TO YOU? ITS BEEN THE IN THING, ALONG WITH OTHERS FOR EVERY. IF IT UPSETS YOU SO MUCH, GO TO WB OR STAY IN MB, OR WHEREEVER YOU ARE FROM. I DON’T SMOKE, BUT POLUTION ON THE BEACH, WITH AN ALMOST CONSTANT BREEZE? I,M SURE THERES PLENTY OF B EACH TO GET AWAY FROM WHATEVER YOU DON’T WANT TO BE NEXT TO. SOUNDS LIKE YOU NEED TO STAY HOME.

  • ChefnSurf says:

    Smokers should think about bringing their own ashtrays/containers to the beach, not the other way around!

    I have friends that smoke at the beach and that’s what they do.

    So now it’s the beach’s fault?

    Idiot!

  • Guest757 says:

    Before you put a ban on smoking on the beach, why doesn’t Carolina Beach think about putting more ashtrays on the beach. It has been proven that when stores have ashtrays out front where they can be seen there are a lot less butts on the ground… So why doesn’t the beach think about doing the same and see if they have less butts on the beach.

  • Guest................ says:

    Thats a great idea and both towns…all beach towns should invest in butt cans to sit along side the trash cans, it would help a little. It wouldnt solve the problem of the people on the beach sunbathing who want to smoke but are too lazy to walk back up to the beach access to put their cigarette out.
    Carolina Beach and most towns dont have the police force that would be required to enforce such a law. They have other more important things to worry about…like keeping the streets safe for you and your kids to walk on at night.
    Easy solution is add more butt cans to help lighten the amount of butts left on the beach

  • Guest22 says:

    Brilliant thinking. Bring back the road diet to.

  • GuestX says:

    Yes they should ban smoking on the beach,wouldnt matter if there was an ash tray every 2 feet.People who smoke dont see it as litter when they discard the butt.Hell if they dont care about thier own health what makes you think they are gonna care about the beach.You see them throwing them out on the drive to the beach,and the walk down to the beach.There is already enough trash left in the form of chairs,kids goggles,water botttles,ect and so on.Yes Im a former smoker,and if there wasnt a place to dispose of it I threw it on the ground.

  • Watching WAC! says:

    Well a new way for WAC! -To exercise almighty fines, control of lowly working class citizens through municipal police, the alcohol system and now tobacco.

  • Guest 10101 says:

    … this is all about controlling the “lowly working class”?

    What a giant pile of stupid!

  • GREAT Decision says:

    This would be a wonderful decision!!! I realize that there would be no real way to enforce the action except that when the Police actually see someone doing it. However, I would also add a provision that civil penalties could be handed out and that lifeguards would have the authority to write a civil violation. I am NOT saying that I would like the lifeguards looking for smokers rather than looking at the swimmers and ocean for harmful creatures, but a flagrant violator would be very easy to spot. A civil penalty for the littering would be wonderful, too.

    I took my son down to Carolina Beach yesterday and had to clear out about 50 butts to put our stuff down. It was just us two, not taking up a very large space. I feel certain it was remnants of the previous nights fireworks, but that is ridiculous. I am 100% for the government to stay out of our day to day living, but when people clearly show the inability to make the right decision and do the right thing, then someone has to step in. Leaving cigarette butts on the beach is lazy, and uncaring and littering!!!

    Do the right thing, Carolina Beach, and make it illegal to smike on that beautiful beach that you have and enforce as best you can. A few citations and a few civil fines will slowly get the point across that a privilidge was granted to the people (It is in no way a person’s RIGHT to smoke, but a privilidge) and the people have abused it to the point that this is what is the next neccesaary step.

    By the way, Carolina Beach Town Council proved that they can do the right thing and make the right decisions by watching traffic flow yesterday on and off the island, doing away with the Road Diet was the right decision!!!!

  • DITTOS says:

    I’m all for it!

  • GuestSmoker says:

    I say, “Bring it on!”. It’s about time. I was there yesterday and had to pick up a half dozen butts just clear out a place for my kid to make a sandcastle.

    The pigs that cannot pick up after themselves need to be fined, and are the ones to blame for the ban. Don’t blame me, blame your brethren.

  • Aaaaah, everyone enjoys a day at the beach with the warm sun, cool breeze, and the cigarette butts between your toes… wait a second! Do you prefer sandy beaches? Then support this smoking ban before we are building butt castles instead of sand castles! Anyone can see that cigarette butt litter, also known as TOXIC WASTE, is becoming a huge issue on our beaches. This ban will be difficult to enforce, but so is speeding. At least the ban will bring awareness, and most people will do the right thing just like most people don’t speed. However, it seems as though most of the litter on our beaches comes from tourists who may or may not understand the dangers that come along with their left behind trash. Whether or not the ban goes into affect, we will still need to bring awareness to the community and tourists so that they will have the necessary information which is required for making the right decision to dispose of cigarettes and all trash properly.

  • Alisa says:

    Thank you, Surfrider. I really hope a multitude of your members show up to the meeting on tuesday. After listening to all of the speakers at the BOEM hearing and seeing the results of your work on Wrightsville, it would be an honor to have you here.

    After reading many of these responses, it is clear that its education/ awareness that needs to be promoted. Most of the smokers I’ve spoken with report no guilt over tossing their butts because they believe them to be biodegradable cotton. In fact, 95% of cigarette butts are made of acetate cellulose (plastic).

    I have a six year old son with asthma and, as some stated above, it is difficult to find a smoke free area to enjoy the beach with him. There is no “up wind” when smokers are scattered the whole stretch of beach. We never ask anyone not to smoke and are always the ones to move. There has to be a way everyone can enjoy themselves.

  • BM says:

    I think it’s high time there should be a deposit put on cigarette butt’s, for starters .25cents, reason being every smoker I have seen throws their butt’s out of their cars and boat’s and etc…, the beach’s are trashed, the waterway’s are trashed, parking lot’s are trashed, even your private property is trashed, put a deposit on those butts and at least someone will pick them up or quit throwing them out for the rest of us to have to pick up, by the way, if I throw out a can I get a ticket, how many times a day does a LE just look the other way on a smoker???? I for one am tired of picking up after these people!

  • Guest824 says:

    That’s actually a good idea. 25 cents seems like a bit much…maybe 5 cents like some states put on bottles. You’d see kids combing the beach every weekend, making butt money. Nice.

  • Gene says:

    Look at Wrightsville beach.Even if they pass the law it cannot be enforced.They really dont want people to know that either…only part of the beach that can be enforced is from property owners line to the high tide water line.From there on down to the water and in the water the town has no jurisdiction.So at low tide and even if you are standing below the spot where high tide reaches,then you can smoke all you want.So its not worth the time to even talk about a ban because its not worth the paper its written on.

  • B M says:

    Actually 25 cents deposit a butt is enough that people will either return them for their deposit or someone else will do it for them, why should we have to clean other people’s mess up?

  • Mary Freeland says:

    Our family will be vactioning there in August and I personally am a smoker. I take a container with me on the beach and discard the butts later. Lets keep the land of the free and stop these laws from taking over! ENOUGH ALREADY! If the law is passed I will no longer be vacationing there.

  • Guest4969 says:

    While CB seems to be trying to imitate WB, lets really let the gov’t get out of the box. Some suggestions:
    1. Enforce the existing noise and drinking laws.
    (boy, wouldn’t that be a change_)
    2. Police Set up on Canal Dr. in the evening and see how many vehicles “switch” drivers when they can find a place to pull over after leaving Freeman Park. (wonder why?).
    3. No Smoking, Drinking alcohol, smoking pot, loud music, unleashed animals anywhere including the Freeman Park.
    4. Enforce the current law about how many people can be in the bed of a pick up truck, and be sitting on the cab top, sitting on the tailgate with legs hanging off, sitting on the edge of the bed, etc… Don’t we already have laws that address this?? Yep !
    5. If our current administration and LEOs choose to turn a blind eye towards all the violations already taking place, how can they stop you from smoking? Maybe “tax” you?
    6. Many more, but this is enough for now.

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