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New law allows counties, cities to ban smoking at beaches, parks

Delray Beach, Vero Beach plan to enforce ban
Posted at 4:24 PM, Jul 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-01 18:04:39-04

PALM BEACH, Fla. — A new law took effect in Florida on Friday that allows counties and cities to ban smoking at their beaches and parks.

HB 105 was passed by the House and Senate earlier this year and signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis on June 24.

The only exception to the law is unfiltered cigars — which are still permitted under this new law.

It's all a part of the Florida Clean Air Act, which hopes to protect the public from the health hazards of secondhand tobacco smoke.

Christina Benjamin, beachgoer discuss smoking on beaches, July 1, 2022
Christina Benjamin shares her thoughts on Florida's new law that allows cities and counties to ban smoking at beaches and parks.

RELATED: 145 new laws take effect in Florida on July 1

According to data from the Ocean Conservancy, cigarette butts are the most common piece of trash that volunteers pick up on Florida beaches.

"It's supposed to be a family place. I think there's a time and place for smoking," beachgoer Christina Benjamin said. "I'm not against smoking. If you want to smoke, that’s your choice. But I don’t think it should affect people around you."

Eric Call, director of Parks and Recreation in Palm Beach County
Eric Call discusses why Palm Beach County doesn't plan on enforcing a ban on smoking at beaches and parks.

WPTV reached out to local governments in our viewing area to see if they are banning smoking on the beach. So far only Delray Beach and Vero Beach plan to enforce the ban.

Palm Beach County said instead of focusing on smoking, they are focusing on litter. Lifeguards at Palm Beach County beaches plan to give out canisters meant to hold leftover cigarette butts.

"Our lifeguards have to focus on public safety and water safety. That's their primary responsibility," Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Director Eric Call said. "I don't want to turn into the cigarette police."