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WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC (WECT) - Smoke your cigarettes while you can because starting spring, no butts on the beach. On Tuesday, Wrightsville Beach residents passed the no smoking on the beach ordinance 2 to 1.
"The goal is to make it a cleaner beach," said Mayor David Cignotti, a supporter of the ban. "Most smokers will accept the ordinance for what it is and over several summers you won't see people smoking on the beach."
The issue has been on the table for more than 3 years. The council has repeatedly voted 3-2 against it.
"I believe this is an opportunity for Wrightsville Beach to not only be a cleaner beach but foremost be a family beach in the state of North Carolina," said Mayor Cignotti.
The battle is not completely lost. Those who want to challenge the ordinance can in 2 years.
"I suspect that after 2 years people will be used to it and happy with it and it will continue as is," said Mayor Cignotti.
Some against the ban are saying challengers will find a way around it.
"How do you determine where the beach begins for Wrightsville Beach," said John Sideris. "If I stand inside the high tide line when its low tide and I'm smoking in that wet water, how's anybody going to stop me?"
"If people really felt the need to go smoke in the water, I presume they could do that," said Mayor Cignotti.
If people go to that extreme, the town says it will take the necessary steps to stop them.
"If need be we would approach the state to give us the ability to enforce in the water and other areas we're having difficulty with," said Mayor Cignotti.
The mayor hopes people will look at this as a new mindset, a changing tide.
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