Gone is the era of “Mad Men,” when nearly everyone smoked and hardly anyone complained about it.
According to the American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation, 81.8 percent of the U.S. population currently lives under laws that place some type of ban on smoking, whether in workplaces, restaurants, bars or gambling facilities, and 24 states have banned the habit in workplaces restaurants and bars entirely.
The trend began in the mid-90s when California passed a statewide smoking ban. Soon after, many states followed suit, and recently the movement is expanding to include public parks and beaches.
Forbes reports that the number of U.S. beaches affected by smoking bans went from 0 in 1995 to 150 in 2010. And while the most commonly listed reasons for these outdoor bans—to protect nonsmokers from secondhand tobacco smoke, to protect wildlife from pollution and to shield children from the bad example of smoking—may not be supported by much scientific evidence the effects are continuing to set a precedence that seems to be catching on.
For example, when compiling his annual list of the best U.S. beaches this year, Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman, director of the Laboratory for Coastal Research at Florida International University (aka Dr. Beach), made a point of awarding extra points for beaches that have banned smoking.
Ultimately, most non-smoking beachgoers will agree that a visit to any shore is more enjoyable when sharing sand space with smokers isn’t an issue, and the following scenic shorelines are some of the best U.S. beaches that currently offer such a convenience.
Ogunquit Beach, Maine
Ogunquit Beach boasts over three miles of white sand and is an ideal destination for everything from surfing and paddling to simply floating around on a lazy summer day. Smoking here was banned in 2010, as the community felt it was an important measure towards maintaining a clean, healthy beach. Additionally, the community is dedicated to preserving local resources like Marginal Way, one of the only paved, public shoreline trails in New England.
La Jolla Cove, Calif.
One of the 25 best U.S. beaches according to TripAdvisor’s 2015 Traveler’s Choice Awards, La Jolla Cove falls into the jurisdiction of San Diego beaches that prohibit smoking on and around beach property, including many surrounding areas, like cliffs walkways, park areas and adjacent parking lots. “The cove is breathtaking—the views, the water and of course seals,” one TripAdvisor user wrote. “Put [this] on your must-do list for [San Diego],” another exclaimed.