Smoking ban for all Florida beaches?

A state lawmaker wants to ban smoking on Florida beaches statewide.

Sarasota House Republican (and soon to be GOP state party chairman) Joe Gruters filed the no-smoking-on-the-beaches legislation for the 2019 legislative session. The draft bill would fine first-time violators $25  or 10 hours of community service.

Several cities and counties have passed local laws prohibiting smoking in Florida beaches and parks over the years. Sarasota County, for example,  passed a local ordinance banning smoking on public beaches a decade ago, but that law was overturned by a circuit court judge in 2012, who ruled that regulating smoking is a task left solely to the Legislature.

Florida lawmakers enacted legislation in 2003 that created smoke-free restaurants and workplaces, but the law also stated that only the Legislature could ban smoking in places like parks and beaches.

If Gruters’ bill passes when the Legislature meets this spring, it would be the first to apply statewide.

Around the U.S., New Jersey is the latest state to ban smoking at public beaches. First-time offenders face a $250 fine.

Meanwhile, California Governor Jerry Brown vetoed a similar bill last fall in the Golden State.

Mitch Perry
Mitch Perry has spent the past 18 years covering news and politics in the Sunshine State, most recently with FloridaPolitics.com. He worked for five years as the political editor of Creative Loafing in Tampa, and before that he was the assistant news director at WMNF radio, where he served as creator/anchor/producer of the hour-long WMNF Evening News. A San Francisco native, Mitch began his career at KPFA Radio in Berkeley in the 1990's.

1 COMMENT

  1. A smarter law would be one that makes smokers responsible for their cigarette butts, and ties it to existing littering law which should be strenuously enforced.
    We ban booze because it makes people behave badly. It’s a public safety issue.
    And while smoking is smelly and inconsiderate around people who don’t like it, is that a reason to make it illegal on public beaches? That seems a bit oppressive, and the kind of overreach liberals & progressives are going to have to avoid as they take power, if they don’t want to finally start a Civil War in this country.

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