Harrison Co. continues to allow beach smoking, other states consider bans

Tobacco Ban on Beaches Video

HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Before walking on to the sand in Harrison County, you will see signs in many places outlining what not to do on the beach. Smoking isn’t on the list of don’ts, something visitor to the Gulf Coast Peter Lane would like to see added.

“If everybody cleaned up their cigarette butts it might not be such a problem, but they generally don’t, and that’s a hazard to all sorts of things whether it be kids on the beach picking them up or the wildlife,” Lane said. “There’s nothing good about it.”

Across the state line in Gulf Shores, smoking is banned on the beach. This week Florida lawmakers are also considering a statewide ban on smoking on public beaches.

Despite actions against smoking in other areas, Harrison County sand beach director Chuck Loftis said other things like glass on the beach present more of a problem.

“We really haven’t seen or heard of any complaints about smoking on the beach,” Loftis said. According to Harrison County Public Information Officer Jeff Clark, there isn’t a threat of stopping smoking on the beach at least not right now.

“We are proud of our beautiful beaches in Harrison County, and our Sand Beach Department works hard to keep them clean and operating at a top level,” Clark said. “At present time, there is no discussion on the table regarding a ban on smoking.”

Smoking isn't the only thing allowed in Mississippi that's banned in our neighboring state.

“They have a no-alcohol ban over there, so we get quite a few visitors from the east over this way because we allow alcoholic beverages on the beach,” Loftis said.

Gulfport resident Marica Holloway doesn’t have a problem with people smoking on the beach, but she does offer a suggestion for those who don’t want to be around it while still accommodating smokers.

“To stop some of the spots from being littered so much, they should have a designated spot for smoking,” Holloway said.

The proposal to ban smoking on Florida beaches would mean a $25 fine for smokers. New Jersey is another state taking action against smoking on the beach. Next week, a new law goes into effect in New Jersey banning any kind of tobacco use on beaches.

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