If you’re planning on heading up to the Cape Cod beaches this summer, leave your cigarettes at home. Massachusetts recently passed legislation banning smoking in all lifeguard-protected areas beginning June 19.
The new smoking prohibition results from a number of complaints from visitors who have been affected by secondhand smoke in public areas, NBC News reports.
“The smoking prohibition is the result of a number of complaints from visitors who have been affected by second-hand smoke on the guarded beaches,” park superintendent George Price, said in an issued statement.
Price added that cigarettes on beaches are not only a health concern but also an environmental concern, as they prove very difficult to clean up. Cigarette butts can often become buried in sand before they can be properly disposed of, and thus cause much extra work for beach staff.
Historically, Massachusetts has been a leader among states for restrictions on smoking in public places. In 2004, Mitt Romney placed a statewide ban on covering smoking in the workplace, bars and restaurants. The ban, which aimed to promote “worker safety,” placed a harsh fine on violators. Although the first of its kind, many states have followed suit in the years since.
While governor, Romney also proposed a bill that would make it illegal to smoke in apartment buildings, as to further reduce exposure to secondhand smoke fumes. This bill did not pass.
This new smoking ban covers many of the famous Cape Cod, Massachusetts, beaches including Coast Guard Beach and Nauset Light Beach in Eastham, Marconi Beach in Wellfleet, Head of the Meadow Beach in Truro, and Race Point Beach and Herring Cove Beach in Provincetown.
Cape Cod National Seashore is not the first seashore in the United States to take this step. Fire Island National Seashore in New York has similar prohibitions.
An estimated 4.5 million tourists flock to the beautiful Cape Cod beaches every year, according to the local Chamber of Commerce. These visitors still may smoke in unguarded areas.
“Our decision has to do with the experience of all the beachgoers,” Price said.