Florida lawmakers move to allow smoking bans at beaches, parks

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Woman smoking at Fort Myers Beach. Credit: WINK News

Cigarette butts are one of the most common forms of litter on our beaches, and now Florida lawmakers want to allow cities and counties to ban smoking on beaches and at parks.

The legislation would give city and county governments in Florida the power to ban smoking at public parks and beaches and within 25 feet of some businesses. If approved, it would impact Florida’s 67 county park systems and more than 400 city park systems. Under the current law, the state controls the regulation of smoking throughout Florida. The Florida Senate version of the bill does not allow a ban on cigars that don’t contain a filter or plastic tip, or pipe tobacco in a pipe.

Residents of Fort Myers Beach have mixed opinions: Some told WINK News they’re in favor of this bill because it will help with pollution. Others say people should be allowed to smoke on the beach if they want to.

“That’s a good idea, there’s a lot of kids on the beach,” said Margaret Fitzpatrick.

“I consider Florida a free state,” said Gary Frigon. “So, I believe that anything goes as long as it’s the will of the people.”

The House passed the bill on Thursday, but a similar bill still has to pass through the Senate. If signed into law, it will go into effect on July 1.

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