Long Beach City Council approves smoking ban

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“It would be exactly like bringing a bottle of beer onto the beach and that would be illegal under the ordinance,” Greg Kalnitsky, the city’s assistant corporation counsel, said before the vote.

Though Tangney said that police officers or summer specials patrolling the beach or other areas where smoking is banned could not randomly search pocket books or bags under the Fourth Amendment, the council voted to amend the ordinance in order to strike the term “possession,” with Goggin saying that it was unfair to residents and visitors and could create a civil liberties issue.

“To me, it appears overwrought and possibly subject to constitutional challenge,” said Goggin, who added that she supports a smoking ban.

The ordinance was also amended to state that anyone who “lights and/or smokes” a cigarette would be issued a violation. Anyone caught smoking on the beach could now be issued a minimum fine of $50 and maximum fine of $500.

But some residents asked how the new law would be enforced, which council President Len Torres acknowledged would be difficult. Others said that the ban could create other issues. Long Beach resident and former County Legislator Jeff Toback said that smokers could potentially crowd beach entrances and create “smoking havens.” Others called for adequate signage to inform people about the new law.

Tangney has said that the city hires summer specials, mostly college students, to patrol the beach each year, and added that they would largely be responsible for making sure the no-smoking rules are followed.

Tangney said that new signs would be posted and provided by the Tobacco Action Coalition of Long Island. He also said that there would be an “implementation” phase, and that the law gives police officers and summer specials discretion before issuing a summons.

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