Ban smoking on Hampton Beach?

Apr 09, 2018

Voters in Hampton at a town meeting earlier this month passed a petition to ban cigarette smoking on Hampton Beach. Petitioners say cigarette smoke infringes on beachgoers’ rights to breathe fresh air. Hampton selectmen say they won’t carry out voters’ wishes, arguing that the ban would be nearly impossible to enforce.

“Should smoking be banned on Hampton Beach?”

Discussion held on Citizens Count NH website and Facebook page March 26, 2018

199 citizens responded102 citizens were opposed to a smoking ban on Hampton Beach60 citizens were in favor of a smoking ban on Hampton Beach37 citizens commented on related questions or issues

What Participants Said

No: 102 citizens were opposed to a smoking ban on Hampton Beach

  • “No.  I hate smoking but I can't remember ever being bothered by it on the beach, which is a wide open space with a nice breeze.”
  •  “No … But i do think they should enforce littering laws.”
  •  “Non-smokers don't own the open air.”

Yes: 60 citizens were in favor of a smoking ban on Hampton Beach.

  • “Not only is it disrespectful to others. It is not good for the birds and such that eat the plastic filters left behind. You want to kill yourself that's one thing but you don't have a right to kill others.”
  • “Unfortunately for a majority of responsible smokers, there are a few that ruin it for them.  I am tired of walking on the beach and stepping on trash and cig butts, so sorry responsible smokers … [but] yes.”
  • “Yes, smoke on the curb it’s not difficult. Too many people abuse their ability to smoke where they please by littering their stubs, plus it smells gross.”

Other: 37 citizens addressed their comments to related questions and issues.
These included:

  • Litter: “I am curious as to why smokers think it is ok to drop butts on the ground, stomp on them, and leave them there. Or to just throw them out the window. Never made sense to me.”
  • Jurisdiction: “It should not be up to the town it should be up to the state … it is a state beach.”
  • Alternatives: “How about a ‘smoking section’ … [the] beach is huge! Designate one part of the beach and make everyone happy.”

*Editor selection of actual participant quotes.

Read the full Facebook discussion of this question

Click here for details on our methodology


Chuck Malias
- Manchester

Tue, 04/10/2018 - 6:30pm

Far too quick? Smoking was permitted in public places and workplaces for DECADES before bans became commonplace in the late 80s and 90s. If I'm at the beach enjoying the fresh ocean air, the last thing I want is a hazardous, cancer-causing waft of smoke blowing into my air space.

Snaggle Tooths
- Concord

Fri, 04/20/2018 - 9:00am

"My air space". Says all we need to know about you.

Chuck Malias
- Manchester

Mon, 04/23/2018 - 9:15am

Yes, I'm the horrible type of person who would rather not inhale toxins spewed by another human.

Mike Dunbar
- Hampton

Tue, 04/10/2018 - 4:20pm

We are far too quick to impose rules and prohibitions on our citizens. Those in the breezy, open air of Hampton Beach should have the right to smoke if they so choose. Catching a momentary whiff of tobacco smoke is hardly an imposition on the freedom of nonsmokers.

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