The nanny-staters of Carolina Beach have banned smoking on the beach — that’s right — smoking outside will be illegal. No matter that since the beach is open space, the council just might have a teeny, tiny legal problem.

Councilman Lonnie Lashley made the motion and included the provision about the effective date in response to legal advice that suggests the beach does not fall under the state’s definition of public grounds. The beach is not enclosed and therefore cannot be subject to local enforcement of such a law without enabling legislation from the General Assembly. He stressed the need to pursue this issue with the local state delegation next year.

I prefer a litter-free beach just as much as anybody, but a ban isn’t the way to address a litter problem. So what’s next? Will they take a page from NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg and ban large sugary sodas too? Once the nanny-staters succeed at one ban, it’s a safe bet others are coming.