No smoking on the beach


Mike Anderson, the acting superintendent of the VI National Park is thinking about prohibiting smoking on the park's beaches, picnic areas and the bathrooms.  He is asking for comments. Email [email protected] before Jan. 28.

It's not the health risks humans run when smoking that prompt the Park to consider the ban.  It's because of the debris smokers leave behind: butts, cellulose filters, cellophane, and packaging materials which can damage the environment and threaten ocean waters and marine life.

Anderson told the St. John Source research shows it can take as long as 25 years for a cigarette butt to degrade, and toxic chemical compounds leach into the environment.

While banning smoking is being considered, the Park plans to install containers for cigarette butts at Trunk and Hawksnesst beaches so smokers can 'can' cigarettes before they get on the beach.

The National Park Service banned smoking in its buildings in 2005 and authorized park superintendents, in 2009, to prohibit smoking "to protect park resources … (and) prevent conflicts among visitor use activities."

9 thoughts on “No smoking on the beach”

  1. I agree with Ann I am so tired of going to beaches and find butts all in the sand and just thrown all over the place. They don’t throw them on the ground at their homes so why do they feel the need to do it in public. It is disgusting and dirty.

  2. I’m all for a ban of butts on the beach esp the big fat ones! OK Let’s be real here for a change. Somking should not be turned to a point of litter. any person thats smokes on a bech should haul out thier own trash we know this don’t happing all of the time. BUT. remenber that this is a BEACH. if the park service did not clean them off there would be so much unhealthy stuff (both from man and nature) that you would never swim there.

  3. The shame as I see it is that some smokers are so inconsiderate or stupid as to think that the beach/park/world is their ashtray…. and are nasty enough to just throw it down. I HATE government involvement, but when people (in this case SMOKERS) are too stupid to use common sense…. well… they FORCE the rest of us to want more regulation. When just common sense could take care of it. ‘Tis a pity.

  4. Hurrah for Mike Andersen. I ve seen smokers treat pristine beaches as their ashtrays for too long. No one is a fan of Big Brother government, but this measure is long overdue. Provide a smoking area away from the beach if necessary, but please get this trash off the beach itself.

  5. As a smoker I would like to see a fine for littering the beaches. Any form of litter. If you are going to ban smoking on the beach you should have an area where people can smoke with a receptacle. I agree that too many people do use the beach as an ashtray. If you bring it in… take it out!

  6. I can see a fine, but prohibiting?? Not so much. I think that would be hard to enforce. My husband is a smoker and he is not inconsiderate or stupid, he puts his butts out and we take them with us. It’s too bad that some smokers ruin it for others. After all, this is OUTSIDE and they have already banned smoking indoors and even at outdoor restaurants.

  7. Great idea, if smokers can’t wait a couple of hours while at the beach, then they should try quitting all together. Cigarette butts are litter in the National Park, and the biggest % of the smokers do not keep them to throw away later…

  8. Anything to reduce litter, but I have to say after just returning from 8 days on STJ, there are bigger litter problems to focus on. Ive been coming for over 10 years, and this was the worst I have seen it. North Shore beaches are great, but the rest of the island just seems to have more of a ghetto feel to it. Biggest improvement they could make – hide those overflowing disgusting looking dumpsters. Put them behind some bushes or something – there has to be a better way.

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