Rhode Island bill would ban smoking on public beaches

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A bill introduced in the Rhode Island General Assembly would ban smoking on the state’s public beaches.

Rep. Joseph Shekarchi, a Warwick Democrat, says he was asked to introduce the bill after hearing concerns about cigarette butts left at Conimicut Point in Warwick.

Shekarchi says beachgoers are bothered by the unsightly litter and the exposure to secondhand smoke.

His bill would fine people up to $1,000 if they are caught smoking within 20 feet of a public beach. It would also allow judges to order violators to perform beach cleanup work.

Newport and several other cities and towns have already passed ordinances that prohibit smoking on beaches.

Rhode Island’s 2005 statewide ban on smoking in bars, restaurants, sports arenas and other public places doesn’t include beaches or parks.

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