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Palm Beach County commissioners ban vaping at public park playgrounds

Posted at 5:39 AM, Oct 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-09 05:45:49-04

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — Palm Beach County commissioners have taken a major step forward to ban vaping in public.

On Tuesday, the county commission approved an ordinance to ban vaping at playgrounds in all county parks.

The ban, including the use of e-cigarettes, only applies to playgrounds specifically at county parks. The ordinance says it's designed to "protect young lungs at play."

If caught vaping at a playground, you'll face a $50 fine plus court costs for the first offense. Fines will increase after that.

It started with Briana Beaty, a North Palm Beach mom who said she was shocked to see so many people vape at the public playground she visits with her three young children.

“I was bummed out because my kids and I were having to leave the park, and other families in our neighborhood were leaving the park, because we didn’t want our kids inhaling smoke,” Beaty said.

She reached out to Palm Beach County Commissioner Melissa McKinlay, who took up the issue.

“It’s not fair to the young children on the playground to be exposed to second hand smoke,” McKinlay said.

Beaty had asked for a ban of all kind of smoking at public playgrounds.

“Florida law currently preempts us from doing that, but there is a little bit of a loophole when it comes to vaping,” McKinlay said.

What started with an email to a commissioner last spring has turned into an actual ordinance.

“I was so relieved,” Beaty said. “I thought: Finally!”

The ordinance passed unanimously on Tuesday.

"Until we have more evidence on the long-term health effects of vaping, I would support a statewide ban on the sale of e-cigarettes and cartridges," said Commissioner Robert Weinroth.

Beaty said she had also talked to state legislators over the last year but she didn’t get anywhere.

“Two people told me it’s because the tobacco lobbying strength is so great that it’s not even worth anyone sponsoring a bill,” Beaty said.

Tuesday was a win for Beaty, but she said she is not done.

“This was a great first step but this isn’t the final step,” Beaty said. “There is more to do to protect our kids.”

The ban will have to be filed with the Secretary of State’s office before taking effect.