© 2022 All Rights reserved WUSF
News, Jazz, NPR
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Health News Florida

DeSantis okays law to let local governments restrict smoking at parks and beaches

 Lawmakers say limiting tobacco use on beaches like this one on Amelia Island could boost tourism
Lawmakers say limiting tobacco use on beaches like this one on Amelia Island could boost tourism

Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed a measure that will allow cities and counties to restrict smoking at beaches and parks that they own.

Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed a measure that will allow cities and counties to restrict smoking at beaches and parks that they own.

The new law builds on a 2002 constitutional amendment that prohibited smoking in restaurants and at other indoor workplaces. Under it, however, local governments will not be able to prevent “the smoking of unfiltered

cigars.”

Lawmakers overwhelmingly approved the measure during the legislative session that ended in March. At the time, Senate sponsor Joe Gruters (R-Sarasota) said the intention of the bill was to rid beaches of cigarette butts that don’t quickly biodegrade.

“If you live near a beach, the number one picked-up item consistently on an annual basis

over and over again, are cigarette butts,” Gruters said. “What happens all the time is this second-hand smoke, to me it is disgusting. But

what's even more disgusting is when you reach into the sand and pick up one of those butts. And those filters that are in the cigarettes are

what ends up in the water, destroying the environment.”

But in opposing the bill, Sen. Jason Pizzo (D-North Miami Beach) said it would be discriminatory.

“When you can have five guys sitting around smoking fat cigars and one Black kid over here smoking a Black & Mild, and the cop can go and exercise probable cause on that person and has to ignore the five, you have a problem,” Pizzo said during a Senate debate.

Copyright 2022 WFSU. To see more, visit WFSU.

Corrected: June 21, 2022 at 3:10 PM EDT
The News Service of Florida incorrectly reported that Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill (HB 105) that would allow cities and counties to restrict smoking at beaches and parks that they own. The brief was based on information posted on the Florida Senate website. The bill remained pending before DeSantis as of midday Tuesday.
WUSF 89.7 depends on donors for the funding it takes to provide you the most trusted source of news and information here in town, across our state, and around the world. Support WUSF now by giving monthly, or make a one-time donation online.