On Tuesday, an advisory board with the City of Naples discussed banning smoking at its beaches and its public parks.
Cigarette butts are one of the most common forms of litter on our beaches. Lawmakers are now working to ban smoking in some cities, and Naples is one that’s been trying for years.
Last month, Gov. DeSantis signed House Bill 105, which allows counties and municipalities to restrict smoking on the beaches and public parks they own.
Naples city officials say banning smoking on the beach and at parks would benefit the environment and your health. WINK News asked neighbors how they would feel if the smoking restrictions were put in place.
“I love coming to the beach, and I want the beaches to be smoke-free, [free] from cigarettes and cigarette butts or whatever the debris is from smoking,” said Mary McEntire. “I believe that it should, it should be banned, absolutely. Should smoke in privacy, and it’s everybody’s right, but not on the beach.”
Bill Patterson, who comes to the beach four times a week, says banning smoking would have a big impact on him.
“It’s another loss of freedom,” Patterson said. “I would be immensely disturbed, I really would. I just don’t like the way we’re losing our freedoms. We bring a bag purposely to throw everything in.”
The issue was discussed during a community advisory board meeting on Tuesday.
“It’s nice to come to the beach and not be concerned with somebody lighting up right next to you. Doesn’t happen all the time, but happens enough where it’s concerning,” said Jim Huderman.
Several beachgoers WINK News spoke with said they support the new state law. There is one exception, unfiltered cigars.
If the city decides to ban smoking in Naples, it will also impact preserves and the Naples Pier.
Smokers, not surprisingly, are not fans of the new law.
“You should have the right to do what you want to do. You come to the beach to relax and have fun and enjoy yourself. If you’re a smoker and want to smoke, that’s fine just don’t encroach on somebody else,” said Joe Novellino.
Novellino showed WINK News how he disposes his cigarette butts. “I think that is the biggest problem. I don’t think it’s people smoking, think it’s the garbage they leave behind.”
He is right. During Tuesday’s discussion, advisory board members talked about how a ban will help the environment and force smokers to smoke less.
A decision wasn’t made on Tuesday, though, because there were not enough board members who took part in the conversation.
The board will not make a recommendation either way to Naples City Council. Council will take up the issue during its meeting on August 17.