Florida Keys Beaches and Parks are Smoke-Free


A new law banning smoking cigarettes or pipes on several Florida Keys beaches and parks was passed by Monroe County Commissioners after the August 17th meeting. The law was passed unanimously and without discussion and has a fine of up to $100 for a first violation. The ban was put in place as a result of concerns regarding health and the environment. There are deadly dangers of secondhand smoke, and because there are often children populating public beaches and parks, inhalation is bound to occur. 

In a written statement, officials said, “It is illegal for people in or on any County-owned public park or public beach to smoke, burn, ignite, inhale, exhale, or possess any cigarette, pipe, or other lighted tobacco product other than an unfiltered cigar.” Under the terms of the ordinance, according to the statement, violators can be faced with an initial fine of $100, and $500 for any additional violations. The ordinance points out that cigarette butts are the most common form of litter on the planet. 

The decision by the Monroe County commission occurred two months after a new law took effect which allowed counties and cities to prohibit smoking at their beaches and parks. The law was approved by the state House and Senate, and was signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis on June 24th, and took effect on July 1st. The county is only allowed to ban tobacco products, so vaping and smoking prescribed marijuana are still allowed. 

Monroe County Parks & Beaches made an announcement about the law on their Facebook page detailing the new ordinance and explaining the driving forces behind it. The post says, “The United States Department of Health and Human Services has found that tobacco and smoke contain over 7,000 toxic and carcinogenic chemicals, and an estimated two-thirds of cigarette butts are discarded as litter. Cigarette butts are also made of plastic and are a major contributor to marine plastic pollution.” The post continues to explain how the State of Florida recently granted counties and municipalities the legal authority to restrict smoking within, as mentioned above. The Facebook post was met with a lot of backlashes from readers, mostly complaints regarding the new ban. 

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