‘No Smoking’ coming to St. John

NosmokeThe Governor is expected to sign a bill prohibiting smoking in bars, restaurants, picnic areas and Virgin Islands beaches which are public parks. 

Health concerns about the effect of second hand smoke are behind the legislation which is heartily endorsed by St. John's At Large Senator Craig Barshinger.

During a hearing on the Virgin Islands Smoke-Free Act, the Senate's Heath Committee heard testimony that while smokers nationwide account for 20 percent of the population, but in the VI's the number is six percent.

"Smokers think differently from nonsmokers," Barshinger said during the hearing, the Virgin Islands Daily News reported.  "They think they're doing just something like listening to an iPod … but actually they're polluting the air."

During the hearing, the question of enforcement came up.  One thought is to have the Health Department handle it while it was also suggested that business owners could be the 'smoke police' and caution their customers to snuff it. 

So, Deputy Health Commissioner Lynette George, predictably suggested that the Department could hire enforcement officers.  Like a dog reacts to the word 'squirrel', the government’s ears perk up at the mere whisper of the word 'jobs.'

The St. John Tradewinds reported several island restaurant owners endorsed the Smoke-Free bill, not worrying it would hurt business.  But, obviously, the idea of them being smoke monitors has its own conflicts.

24 thoughts on “‘No Smoking’ coming to St. John”

  1. My husband and I both smoke but we are always very courteous and aware of what and who is around. I agree with the restaurants and bars thing, but come on, the beach! Outside areas!?! We always carry a plastic baggy to store the butts in as not to litter the beaches.

  2. LeAnne, some smokers are considerate, but many are not. The BVI has no smoking in any public places and they’re doing very well. I love it!

  3. When a person smokes on a beach or an open area – we can easily smell the smoke at a very far distance. The stink from cigarettes is not pleasant and takes away from our enjoyment of ‘paradise’.
    Why should non-smokers be subjected to the smoke pollution just because of a smokers’ addiction?
    {which is exactly what it is…}
    We love being able to go to bars and restuarants without be subjected to the smoke of others. Otherwise – we just don’t. I am glad to know that I will be able to go to the Beach Bar (and others) without someone lighting up next to us and having to leave (or move).

  4. Yes, about the smoking thing. I only do it when I’m away from everyone else. I quit for 20 years and started back 3 years ago. What a dumb ass, I know. But, being a reformed smoker for so many years and hating the smell and inconsiderate people around me, I am very conscious of smoking away from people and zipping up my butts in zip locks. I wish I could say the same for those who put them out in flower pots, beach sand, etc. By the way, if you quit, don’t start back……

  5. Yes LeAnne, THE BEACH! I do not want to smell the smoke nor do our children and we surely do not want to see THOUSANDS, yes thousands of butts littering the beaches. Most smokers toss them anywhere they please. Outside areas are common ground and it is a basic human right to breath smoke free air, that is why a lot of us live here, because it is way less polluted than the mainland. Perhaps enclosed pods would work so smokers can breath other smokers smoke and the rest of us can breath the clean fresh air that is the essence of life here in the USVI.

  6. Vacationing on St John is to get away from the pollution and rat race of the main land America. However, to wind up on a beach in paradise next to smokers totally defeats that purpose. I don’t care where you smoke as long I as don’t have to breathe it.

  7. Hooray. Can residents volunteer as vigilantes to help enforce this new law against tourists? Just kidding, but many times I have felt like stuffing those smelly cigars down their throats. The smoke from one cigar literally drifts from one end of the beach to the other. Can this law be expanded to the trails? Last week after hiking 1/2 hour to top of Rams Head, I took a deep supposedly refreshing breath, and choked on cigarette smoke.

  8. That would be great! Downside is (only some inconsiderate/drunk) smokers throwing burning butts down outside of nonsmoking areas or putting them out in potted plants. Maybe they will put them out in their beer bottles before throwing them on the beach – other pet peeve.

  9. This Is A tough One.I Am A recovering alcholic.20 Years+.I Love A Good Cigar,On The Beach.As I Look Around St.John All I See Is alcohol.EVERYWHERE!!!!! Does It Bother Me.NO!!For Me To Walk Around Telling Everyone What to do Is None Of My Business.Now,On The Beach Around Others I Never Light Up.But If I Am Way Up Maybe On Francis,That Is My Business.In My Jeep That Is My Business.As To You St.Johnrunner.RELAX!!! We Also Live On Island.

  10. Post signs on all the public beaches and park areas and let them know there will be a fine for smoking and disposing of their butts.(You will run DNA samples and you will find them.)LOL… 🙂
    Have a designated smoking area. I have no problem asking people to redirect their STINK! Not my job though!
    What ever happened to common courtesy?
    Smoke travels.
    And Jan, thank you for being considerate, you are one of the few. Try Chantix, my sister did and it worked for her. Good Luck!

  11. Wait till they tell you, you can”t drink on the beach! Then you will be just like me…Canadian!
    Let them smoke, let them drink….they are on vacation! And let TT smoke his pot!

  12. Give me a break!! You non smokers have such sensitive long noses. I hate smelling beer and watching how stupid you get when drinking it. You come closer to running me off the road than my cig. killing you. If you ban cigarettes please ban beer and liquor

  13. We have been vacationing in St. John for the last 20 years.
    My husband and I would be delighted not to sit near (and then have to move) because some smokers are inconsiderate of non smokers.
    As of this year, my husband is now on portable oxygen (his health afflication is due to smoking many years ago) and we had to move so many times (beaches and restaurants) because of the smokers.
    I pray this new law passes before we return in 2011.

  14. wow, this is really a big freaking deal, huh? i’ve watched the comments on various news subjects for a couple years now. i don’t remember so many, and so many varied reactions to a subject here before. everyone is entitled to an opinion here, but it sounds like you want to kill each other. take it easy! geeze! relations between people aren’t better in “paradise” than anywhere else, are they? take it easy people!

  15. I totally agree with JD. This is going way too far. I understand the law in closed in places, but out in the open air, like at the beach—way too far. i dont smoke and dont like the smell of it, but i also dont like loud drunks next to me on the beach, when i’m relaxing or loud annoying music. I also fear for my life much more with all the drunk drivers. removing yourself from what you don’t like is part of life, unfortunately we cant move out of a drunk drivers way!!!!

  16. maybe we could have smoking and non smoking beaches and make all the drinking people go to a beach within walking distance of the place they are staying. There are other islands to vacation on, except my family owns a house on St John. Too many rules will run everyone off.

  17. I lived on St. John for almost 10 years. My brother and many many of my friends are still on island. I was a smoker most of my time there. I quit about 4 years ago. It’s really tough for me to smell cigarette smoke because it makes me want a cig. But, I still think that’s my burden to bear. I think people should be able to do what they want, especially in St. John.
    One of the things that makes STJ special is the ability to let loose and feel free. What’s next? Can’t carry your beer from one bar to the next? It’s ridiculous. I think it should be up to the establishment whether to allow smoking or not. I think as tolerant, forward thinking people we should allow people the courtesy of choice.
    If you have a problem with someone’s behavior, or their actions are bothering you, don’t be such a baby and say something! If the smoke is bothering you than tell them. Most people ESPECIALLY St. Johnians (like my dear friends and family) will be more than willing to be respectful if you’re not a jerk about it. EVERYONE in STJ has at least a finger in the hospitality biz, we all know how our bread gets buttered.
    Don’t ruin paradise for some because you can’t be tolerant, or strong willed enough to confront something you don’t like.

  18. Sorry Lubbie, but you are wrong. MANY places in the BVI have let me smoke in restaurants/bars/public places, countless times. Also, the beach is ridiculous. Its OUTSIDE where the wind is blowing. Most locals including myself almost always bring a bag for their garbage to the beaches including their cig butts. This may be an American territory, but its NOT AMERICA!!! thank God for small favors. Also, being a resident here, we are not able to vote on anything that that affects the 50 states, why should we have to change our smoking regulations just to accommodate (mostly) Americans who have the wrong expectations of what it is like to visit other territories and countries that bare different regulations than their own. If you don’t like it, you can simply tell the person its bothering you, I would be fine with putting mine out. and waiting until you leave. Or you can move UPWIND of me on the beach. Jesus! The last thing we need is a bunch of tax money wasted on “enforcement officers” (because believe me very few restaurant & bar owners will enforce this)tax dollars to outfit uneducated hot heads with guns, bullet proof vests, badges, all just to write up stupid smoking tickets. Come on VI. Use our resources, don’t waste them.

Leave a Comment