Cape Gazette

Rehoboth officials to vote on smoking March 10

Ordinance would ban butts on beach, Boardwalk
By Ryan Mavity | Mar 03, 2014
Photo by: Deny Howeth The Rehoboth Beach commissioners are set to adopt an ordinance banning smoking on the beach, Boardwalk, Bandstand and in city parks at a special meeting, Monday, March 10.

Rehoboth Beach — The Rehoboth Beach commissioners are set to vote on a measure banning smoking on the beach, Boardwalk, Bandstand and in all city parks at a special meeting Monday, March 10.

Drafted by Commissioner Stan Mills, the ordinance would create designated smoking areas whose locations would be determined by the city manager.

The designated areas would be at the foot of the dunes away from the dune crossings and would have signs and cigarette disposal containers. Smokers would only be allowed to smoke within a 12-foot radius of the signs. The ordinance specifies that from May 1 to Sept. 30, there will be no more than 20 permitted smoking areas. For the rest of the year, there will be no more than four.

Violators of the ordinance would be subject to a $25 fine that would escalate if unpaid to $50. If passed, the smoking ban would be effective May 15.

Mills said the cost to implement the ban – which would include paying for signs and cigarette disposal cans – would be $25,000, although much of that would come from a grant from the American Lung Association and money already budgeted for smoke-free inititatives. Ultimately, the city would only need to authorize $4,000 to $7,000 in new spending to cover the costs of implementation, Mills said.

Mills said education was the key to getting people to comply and urged communicating with residents and visitors using the city website and the city parking guide as well as other resources.

In anticipation the measure will pass, the commissioners gave City Manager Sharon Lynn the go-ahead to work with Mills on preparing a purchase order for the signs and disposal cans. Mills came to the Feb. 21 meeting with a mockup of what the signs could look like.

Mayor Sam Cooper said he thinks the ordinance will pass and he is generally supportive of it. He said he is not a big fan of having more signs around the city, preferring more openness and less clutter, but he understands why the signs are needed.

Commissioner Toni Sharp said she was supportive of the ordinance. She said of the correspondence she has received, 98 percent is in support with only a couple opposed.

“I want to make sure we can accommodate where we can and make sure it aligns with what the majority of the community wants to see us do,” Sharp said.

Comments (7)
Posted by: Tim McCollum | Mar 03, 2014 19:14

It does not sound like much of a smoking ban with 20 designated smoking areas within 1 mile of boardwalk/beach. Where is the foot of the dune; on the beach or on the boardwalk?

Posted by: Tim McCollum | Mar 04, 2014 07:53

The legal and oppression arguments are weak at best Mr. Price.  Alcohol is legal by the 21st Amendment to the Constitution ending prohibition. Do you recall public consumption of alcohol on streets and in parks?  I do.  Legislation has evolved to prohibit these activities. States and municipalities continue to legislate and control drinking as it should be.  No one is citing oppression of a drinker's right to consume a legal beverage. It is time to evolve.

Posted by: Barry Wayne Price | Mar 06, 2014 05:36

I was not talking about alcohol Mr. Mccollum. I was talking about smoking cigarettes. There is a subtle difference.

Posted by: Tim McCollum | Mar 06, 2014 13:31

It is understood that you were talking about smoking Mr. Price.  Obviously, the analogy of cigarettes and alcohol with regard to legislation and perceived oppression did not persuade your opinion.  Subtleness aside, one has to admit the two are remarkably similar.  Both are addictive, bear an incredible cost to healthcare, contribute to productivity loss, increase taxpayer cost, and contribute to the litter problem with butts and beverage containers consistently in the top 10 most littered items.  In closing, one not so subtle difference is "smoking kills more people than alcohol, AIDS, car accidents, illegal drugs, murders, and suicides combined” in the USA. Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, February 20, 2014.

CDC, “The Health Consequences of Smoking – 50 Years of Progress A Report of the Surgeon General 2014,”

Posted by: Barry Wayne Price | Mar 08, 2014 09:14

Mr. McCollum:

Your point about cost, tragedy, and death related to cigarette smoking is well received, and cannot be argued. However, doesn't individual choice still have merit in this country?

All I am saying is that 'forced' compliance to the 80% majority of non-smokers way of thinking is a bit extreme? It's like saying jobs are more important than people's lives who may live in the shadow of industry. It is very hard to argue with job creation. It's like a slam-dunk.

However, one can ask what kind of jobs, and how industry will affect the community in which it is located. The brew pub controversy in Dewey is a good example.

Rehoboth is founded on the idea that there is room for all. It has a history of inclusion. The gay community has worked hard and diligently to achieve acceptance, and inclusion.

Excluding smokers is in direct opposition to that heritage. And, smokers do not have a voice in the decision making process.

News reports on this have been heavily slanted to the non-smokers point of view. I reckon it is politically correct.

Rest assured sir, that I encourage everyone I know that smokes to please stop a.s.a.p. It is easy to say for those who are not addicted, but monumentally difficult for those who are.

Addiction in any form - whether it be drugs, food, alcohol, cigarettes is self destructive. But addiction is complicated. In a perfect world addictions should be approached with empathy, understanding, and compassion. I see the anti-smoking movement by people as lacking those important virtues.

Attempting to marginalize those smokers, or others who disagree is simply bullying.

Posted by: Tim McCollum | Mar 09, 2014 16:57

Your intelligence is noted Mr. Price as you recognize the ills of smoking.  Translating that to compassion as you encourage your friends and acquaintances to cease smoking is a noble effort.   I have two horses in this race.  I grew up with three siblings in a home with parents that smoked.  Miraculously none of us smoke.  Our encouragement for them to cease smoking is similarly compassionate as your efforts.  They have succeeded in ending this addiction, albeit by different methods and timelines.  My father was able to go cold turkey 35 years ago.  My mother stopped smoking last year after 12 months in the health care system fighting for her life.  Call us bullies if you like.  I support legislation that is in the best interest of public health and safety.  This is all a moot point.  After Monday’s yea vote by the commissioners, there will be 22 smoking areas on the beach.  No oppression, no bullying, no ban. 

Posted by: Barry Wayne Price | Mar 10, 2014 07:50

Mr. McCollum: Providing smoking areas is a compromise I can live with. As long as people who 'happen' to smoke are not excluded from the beach which belongs to all of us. I appreciate your thoughts on this subject, and certainly your ability to see my point. I suspected t that you had been personally affected by cigarette addiction. I can now understand your passion for anti-smoking.  I think we can agree to disagree on method.

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