Wrightsville Beach denies smoking ban despite community support

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Submitted: Fri, 03/09/2012 - 3:14am
Updated: Fri, 03/09/2012 - 5:18pm

WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC (WWAY) — For the second time in two years, Wrightville Beach denied a smoking ban.

“Wrightsville Beach took two steps backwards in terms of democracy goes,” said Wrightsville Beach Mayor David Cignotti. “When you receive emails from over 200 residents, have over 400 residents with the zip code supporting it, it was overwhelmingly for.”

In spite of numerous emails, signed petitions, samples from the beach, and a packed house Thursday night, the Wrightsville Beach Board of Aldermen rejected a smoking ban at the ordinance. Cignotti says the board did not listen to the people of the town when making its decision.

“I think when you’re elected to office, that you put your personal opinions aside and you listen to your constituents,” said Cignotti. “This was overwhelmingly for, so I’m disappointed.”

Supporters of the smoking ban say denying the ban is a missed opportunity for the community.

“It’s a sad night for Wrightsville Beach,” said smoking ban supporter Tim Taylor. “We could have been one of the predominant beaches in North Carolina. We would have been the first beach to be smoke free but right now we’re just like every other beach.”

Opponents say the way the laws were written would put too much stress on an already stretched police department. Some also argued that a less confusing ordinance needed to be considered.

“The way the ordinance is written, it is only enforceable above the high tide line,” said opponent Colin Eagles. “At low tide, over half of the beach, the ordinance would not apply. That is absurd.”

Those working to keep the beach clean say they will not stop their efforts even though the ban was not put into place. They say the will continue to speak up for what they believe in until their voices are heard and respected, which they say may have to wait until election season.


  • 4u says:

    Health is not a concern for them, so get rid of the filters. That’s where the litter is coming from. The paper and tobacco left will break down quickly when there is no filter. Beaches, street corners, parks, everywhere will be cleaner and smokers can still smoke. If you are one of the few “health nut” smokers out there, then you can buy a reusable filter.

  • WBS OLE Skool says:

    I’m a native of WB and enjoy a cig on occasion but carry my butts with me when I walk back up to my house. It sickens me too when every two feet I count and pick up butt after butt and ride the hell out of anyone I see dropping or poking a butt in the sand. Tim went about the whole cig ban campaign too extreme and in turn cut its nose off despite its face. Tim next time you might try goinbout it in a manner that will appease both sides. You’re a recent transplant in the community and like many others that’ve moved here with their big money and Yankee minded selfish ideals , lemme tell ya dude it’s not all about you bro ! I can only begin to think you guys would’ve came out with a win win on both sides if you Tim had gone about it and asked for “Smoking Zones ” . Just as we have ones for surfing. Not only would we be able to enjoy second hand smoke free days on the beach but it would also better enable us to zero in on the zones where the butts are predominantly left behind.

  • Das Weibstück says:

    WB residents really do not want the general public on THEIR beach and they are trying to make it as miserable as possible to visit. Close it, make it private and pay for your own beach re-nourishment. Poor butt lady will have to find a real job but O’well.

  • Guest3/9 says:

    Great job WBBA. Those two people picking up Butts on the beach do not even live there! Yes, I agree there should be stronger enforcements on “littering” but dont take someone’s freedom away, the government is already doing enough of that in our back yards as it is.

  • X says:

    Horses cause global warming and, don’t forget, you are enslaving the animals.

  • Guest Lee says:

    Cigarettes are the #1 most littered item in America and the world. Their filters are made of cellulose acetate tow, not cotton, and they can take decades to degrade. Toxic residue in cigarette filters is known to be damaging to the environment.

    Cigarette butts aren’t just ugly; they also threaten wildlife. Plastic pieces have been found in the stomachs of fish, birds, whales and other marine creatures that mistake them for food.

    When eaten, the toxins in cigarette butts also can also make small children sick. The most common symptoms are vomiting, nausea, lethargy, gagging, and a pale or flushed appearance.

    I agree; it’s a sad day for Wrightsville Beach.

  • irish1 says:

    Just enforce the littering laws … period … why would any American support yet another law that would take away another American’s rights? Oh … I know … to protect them from themselves … lot of that going around lately. And I really don’t want to hear from the so-called “second hand smoke” hypocrites … they are almost as bad as the “Stop Titian” hipocrites .. because if you don’t … 1) Walk everywhere you go … 2) Ride a horse everywhere you go … or … 3) ride a bike … you are contributing to pollution just like everybody else … sorry that this doesn’t fit into your self-justifying sense of yourself … but that’s just the way it really is.

  • Guest461 says:

    Just like the bored woman picking up nasty butts, go find a real hobby! There are many more things than butts that need picking up off the beach..every day! Geeeez…

  • SouthEastNC says:

    I agree with you about cigarette butts. Why is it that most smokers don’t think of butts as litter? All the smokers I know have no problem flicking a butt out their window while driving, but would never think of tossing out an empty cigarette pack – they’d see that as litter, but don’t see butts the same way. I do realize there are some people who save their butts to properly dispose of them… kudos to those folks.

    Cooking out the other evening, a buddy of mine who smokes was giving another friend there a hard time for not recycling.
    Non-Recycler – “That’s funny, cause you’re one of the biggest litterers I know.”
    Smoker – “What? I never litter.”
    Non-Recycler – “How many cigarette butts do you flick out your car window every day? You think they just disappear?”
    Smoker – “Man… I guess you’re right.”

    At the same time, I don’t like the government encroaching more and more on legal things people choose to do. This isn’t a smoking problem, it is a littering problem. I don’t know what the solution is… really, need to get more people who smoke to realize that flicking out a cigarette butt is just as bad as littering a styrofoam cup.

  • Guest7969 says:

    WRONG..according to the Libtards…the fact that we even BREATHE…makes us contributing to pollution…

  • Commonsensenotcommontoday says:

    “Wrightsville Beach Town Aldermen Ignore Overreaching Nazis”

    BTW, back when I smoked, I smoked Luckies. No filter, totally biodegradable.

  • Guest461 says:

    I walk the beach almost every day. Butts are only a small part of the problem. If you’re going to ban butts, you have to ban soft drinks, baby diapers, kids plastic toys, food wrappers, cups, forks, busted coolers, beach chairs, umbrellas, napkins, baggies, surfboards and the remainder of an endless list of trash I see.

    I understand the litter problem and do not condone it, but I also realize litter extends well beyond smokers butts. If you want to control litter, control it all, not just a select portion. This law wasn’t about controlling litter as much as it was about controlling people. This was likely invoked by the same genre of the “Stop Titan” and “No Port Southport” crowd.

    I’m a former smoker, smokefree for over 7 years now. The best thing I ever did for myself, but the last thing I want to do is be an anti-smoking nazi. I don’t think Wrightsville Beach wants to be on the recordbook for that either, they already have enough image problems.

  • ILM NATIVE says:

    why are you LETTING kids eat cigarette butts WATCH YOUR KIDS. Kids and their noise bother me at the beach maybe I should try to get a ban on them. The plastic pieces are from soda can plastic usually, not cigarettes. I feel people like you are a danger to mankind more than any cigarette butt, sorry got to cut it short need to light up….

  • dittos says:

    Get rid of the “IT’S MY RIGHT TO SMOKE WHERE I WANT, WHEN I WANT” argument. Talk about self-justifing sense of ones self. That IS truly the way it is.

  • getaclue says:

    Really! Smoking causes ignorance. Look at all the people standing in front of the NO Smoking signs at the hospital. Also, what better way to enjoy an ocean breeze than to be downwind of a smoker.

  • J Dugo says:

    The politicians and residents of Wrightsville Beach do not own the beach and certainly do not own the air! How can those poor people who have such a problem with second hand smoke on the beach possibly tolerate going outdoors or driving to the beach with the thousands of cars polluting their air? Re: the woman who picked up “45,000” butts on the beach – did she really count them and was her count verified?

  • Guest757 says:

    I do agree with you on smoking at the hospital, but come on it’s a big beach if the smoke is blowing your way take 2 steps to the left… LOL

  • Someone Who Knows the Facts says:

    I emailed all 3 dissenters…Mr.(Attorney) Darryl Mills argued “liberty and personal choice” as his reason for the vote against it. A stock answer for a lawyer. Ms. King and Ms.Collins have not had the courtesy to reply.
    Bottom line….CLUELESS!!!! IGNORANT!!!!!! OLD!!!!!!
    Time for them to think about letting educated, innovative, public conscious people serve the community!

  • Guestog says:

    Why would enforcement be any harder than the current ban on glass bottles or alcoholic beverages?

  • Wilmington217 says:

    one word…..Littering! we already have a law against that, but how’s that going….”not to good”! Enforce laws we already have….don’t make new ones….especially stupid ones.

  • Guest2234 says:

    if the town had such a menial ordinance to worry about i say we sack them all and give free parking to all visitors. ban smoking or not, people will still smoke, the butts will still be there. disgusting or not, it’s a public place. its unfortunately but its life. get over it or go somewhere else. you cant have your cake and eat it too.

  • I don’t care what the statistics say, I think more people smoke now than ever !! If you stop and look in parking lots, cars driving around,at stoplights, outside buildings and restaurants, etc. just look around, almost everybody smokes!!! It’s worse than ever before. Do people realize that it’s a life-long addiction? When you light up that first cigarette make sure you are willing to dedicate your ENTIRE life to at least ten dollars minimum a day to pay for cigarettes and thousands of dollars in health care when you get older. Realize that you will smell disgustingly horrible including your hair, clothing, car, house, etc. for the rest of your life. You will have bad breath forever.You will have to give up sports and most exercises for the rest of your life. You will have to live in a single story house. you will not be able to quit. It’s an ADDICTION made by the companies that make cigarettes. Just know this kids !! and Believe it !!

  • dittos says:

    It was a day to celebrate when the smoking ban for bars and restaurants finally went into effect. I no longer had to suffer the stench of cigarette smoke in my hair and clothes…much less having no escape of breathing the polluted air of lingering smoke. I have enjoyed every day of it. It blows me away that these idiots think it’s a right to smoke when or where they want no matter who it affects. I’ve never understood that argument. It ludicrous on it’s merit. The beach ban will happen sooner or later…just it this case it will no doubt be later.

  • Guest111 says:

    The woman who has collected 40,000 cig butts needs to find a job or a hobby. I can’t imagine the time she spends on the beach doing this. I saw her on the news and FYI to her. . if you are going to insist on doing this at least put some gloves on. You were picking the butts up with bare hands and people’s mouths have been on those filters. Not smart! You don’t know what diseases these people may have. You are so focused on your ’cause’ you’ve forgotten common sense.

  • Daniel Christensen Jr. says:

    Are you serious? Two steps back in democracy?!? At least it wasn’t ten steps back in freedom, you moron. If you don’t like people smoking around you maybe you should, hell i don’t MOVE. Oh sorry not like you have a whole SHORELINE you could move to. It’s a beach for crying out loud.

  • D M Scotts says:

    Daniel – When you read your own post, does it make sense to you?

  • Russell says:

    I am a non smoker but I say good for them the W.B.B.A. What’s going to be next a ban on fishing on the beach because there to many old fishing lines fond on the beach.I say the lady who picked up the butts I hope you continue to do so maybe even form a group of people to do so once a week instead of depending on the W.B.B.A. to do the job for you if it bother you that much.

  • Brian says:

    It seems the problem is not that people are smoking on the beach, it’s that they’re littering. WB should draft and enact a strong littering ordinance with steep penalties. $500 for the first offense should be a good deterrent. Add dog poop to the list, and vigorously enforce the ordinance. It’s a win for everyone – less cigarette and dog poop litter, more revenue and more jobs (littering enforcers). Happy now?

    I’m not a smoker, and I think there should be stiff penalties for dropping cigarette butts on the ground – but I’m also tired of the WB residents thinking that they’re all powerful as well.

  • According to:

    The population of Wrightsville Beach in 2009 was 2,652.

    So (200+400)/2652 = 0.226244344 or 22.6% in favor of the ban.

    That’s not overwhelming support is it?? Not even a quarter of the population?

  • Bridget says:

    Do you really think that if there was a smoking ban on a beach especially the North end that people would really follow it? I don’t think so!!! That law would be very hard to enforce.
    I think the tax payers money would be better used for fixing the beaches so that we can have a beach to go to. And last but not least PICK YOUR CIG. BUTTS UP!!!!!!

  • dittos says:

    yeah! I read it twice and couldn’t make sense of it either.

  • Guest111 says:

    oh, so it’s wonderful that no one is sitting in a bar smoking BUT everyone IS sitting in the bar throwing back drinks, leaving the bar, getting in their car and driving off snockerd, anytime after 11:00 am on any given day. Oh yea, you got a great point. You can come up on a wreck involving a drunk driver, you can get out and try to help but for God’s sake, don’t you DARE light up a cigarette. Logical priorities… NOT!

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