Florida beaches and parks can now ban smoking

Published: Jun. 20, 2022 at 7:03 AM EDT
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Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed a bill allowing local governments to restrict smoking on public Florida beaches and parks.

The Florida Legislature passed House Bill 105 back in March.

The new law gives local leaders full jurisdiction in regulating smoking at beaches. This includes the creation of designated smoking zones and fines, stricter laws on the disposal of cigarette butts and even an outright ban.

One exception is in regard to the smoking of unfiltered cigars.

The "Florida Clean Air Act," aims "to protect the public from the health hazards of secondhand tobacco smoke," according to the Florida Senate's bill summary.

Smoking is defined as "inhaling, exhaling, burning, carrying, or possessing any lighted tobacco product, including cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco, and any other lighted tobacco product."

The Ocean Conservancy, the nation's oldest conservation nonprofit, was a big advocate for achieving this effort.

"This is a major victory for the health of our beaches and seas throughout the Sunshine State," said Jon Paul Brooker, director of Florida Conservation at Ocean Conservancy. "Cigarette butts may be small, but they have a lasting, harmful effect on our environment."

According to Ocean Conservancy, cigarette butts add to the microplastics problem that impacts wildlife. Ocean conservancy said the plastic fibers in the cigarette butts erode into smaller bits and accumulate in fish and other wildlife.

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