VIRGINIA BEACH, Va (WAVY) - The Chesapeake Beach Civic League voted to support a proposed smoking ban along Chicks Beach and plans to present an online petition to City Council.
The effort to snuff out smoking on Chicks Beach is being led by Donnie Damon.
"We come to the beach for the fresh air, for the beautiful water for the sights and not to stick our feet in the sand and have a cigarette butt down there," Damon told WAVY.com. He added he certainly does not want to breathe in second-hand smoke from someone like Charity Clewis.
"If he doesn't like the smoke, in my opinion, he needs to go down where somebody's not smoking," Clewis said. She concedes to the state's smoking ban in public restaurants but argues the beach is open air.
"He needs to get off his, you know, his high horse," she told WAVY.com.
Clewis contends smokers have rights too, but this wouldn't be the first beach ban. There's no smoking allowed at New York's Coney Island. California and Florida also have bans.
The Chesapeake Beach Civic League voted to support Damon's proposed ban, however, 10 On Your Side found out Virginia Beach does not have the authority to enforce a ban. Councilman Bill DeSteph told WAVY.com that this is an issue for the state.
Damon said he is prepared to take it to Richmond and beyond. "We've got to start Chicks Beach, then Virginia Beach, all of Virginia, the Chesapeake Bay, it's a worldwide epidemic."
What Clewis wants to know is, whose world is it? "I mean, I'm gonna smoke my cigarettes, they're just gonna have to come get me."
Councilman DeSteph said he thinks it would be tough to pass a smoking ban outdoors but said Virginia Beach could crack down on the current littering laws. However, he does not want police to neglect other duties in order to do that.
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