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Beach smoking ban bill clears first test

by John Kennedy | February 21st, 2013

An effort to give cities and counties authority to limit smoking at beaches and parks cleared its first legislative test Thursday — earning unanimous approval from the Senate Regulated Industries Committee.

The measure (SB 258) is similar to one sponsored by Rep. Bill Hager, R-Boca Raton, who two years ago successfully got lawmakers to give school boards power to enact tougher anti-smoking restrictions than those contained in state law.

Since it was first approved in 1985, the state’s Clean Indoor Air Act has been focused on smoking inside public buildings and workplaces. It also bars local governments from enacting any measures stricter than what is allowed under the state law.

Sen. Eleanor Sobel, D-Hollywood, said smoking doesn’t have a place on the beach or in public parks. Eliminating it, could save cities and counties cleanup money, she said.

“This will save a lot of money, besides people won’t have smoke blowing in their faces,” Sobel said.

Representatives of local governments, anti-cancer groups, and other health advocates endorsed the Senate measure Thursday. The only caution came from Richard Turner of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association, who said his organization is still trying to gauge the proposal’s possible effect on restaurants.

Turner said many of his group’s members spent a lot of money a decade ago to comply with state law after voters extended the smoking ban to restaurants. Although the legislation would only affect publicly-owned facilities, Turner said some cities and counties lease space to restaurants, which could face broader prohibitions.


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22 Responses to “Beach smoking ban bill clears first test”

  1. Z Says:

    Inconsiderate and litter bug smokers brought this on themselves. I can’t wait to be able to go to the beach with my family and not be smoked out by some inconsiderate smoker up-wind, or have to move all the nasty cigarette butts out of the sand so that my kids can dig and play!

  2. johndavidson Says:

    Comments that are derogatory towards smokers should be removed. Smokers are not criminals and laws that restrict smoking are the same as Jim Crowe laws Florida use to have on the books.hese smoking bans indoors or out are inhuman and against the principles America was founded on.

  3. Tom Says:

    YES! This new state statute will give local city and counties the power they should have in a “home rule” state such as Florida. Local government must be able to make the call for local parks and beaches! For instance, if the statute us approved, the City of Lake Worth would be able to stop smoking at all the outdoor restaurant tables within the newly renovated beach area, including Bennies, Mulligans and the LW Pier itself. Those are all public spaces leased to private companies. In Lantana, the town of Lantana could decide that there will be no smoking at the Dune Deck Cafe, since it is all outdoors. I am in favor of keeping the smoke away from our kids! If we are on the beach with the kids and a smoker sits down next to us, we should not have to leave to avoid the smoke. Smoking is a filthy, lethal addiction.!!!

  4. Eww, filthy, gross... I'm telling! Says:

    Tom, you’re a gay man and don’t even have a kid, you’ve said it before on these threads.

    Let me turn the tables on your scenario: parents who pay for reservations for Disney World way ahead of time get there with their children, only to find out it’s ‘Gay Pride Day’ at Disney & then find out the management can do nothing about it.
    Maybe you should try a real cigar (for once).

  5. Francisco Says:

    The Nazis are back……
    Coming to a living room near you real soon….

  6. LOL Says:


    Your comment itself is against the principles America was founded on. You do not want negative comments about smoking, therefore you are asking the PBP to deny readers their right to freedom of speech.

    Now that I’ve pointed out your hypocrisy, smoking is a stupid, nasty expensive habit. But that’s your choice. But keep your nastiness to yourself in your own disgusting home, don’t expose me to your crap when I’m actually trying to enjoy fresh air.


  7. Cheeseus Sonofdog Says:

    “….besides people won’t have smoke blowing in their faces,” ….

    Except for those grills that are loaded with charcoal that burns for hours and releases thousands of times more smoke. Or the cars in the parking lot. Or the fires on the beach. Time to ban those too. Then we can go after those that flatuate or wear too much perfume. And those darn sea creatures that die and stink up the beach. Then lets outlaw the kites that could fly in our face.

    Heck, why not just ban the beach altogether? Everytime I go that nasty sand “blows in my face”. Hmm, must be the wind. The same wind that blows a smokers fumes away from us at the beach.

    I swear we need to start having public lynching of these dooshbag politicians!

  8. Bob W. Says:

    The stupid safety-nazis from the Northeast want to turn Florida into a police state like the one that they left. I don’t even smoke, but, damnit man, enough is enough.

  9. FLNative81 Says:

    Personally, I think the majority of people who reside in south Florida are mostly inconsiderate to those around them. I agree that smoking is a nasty, expensive, stupid, and somewhat therapeutic habit, but to ban smoking in its entirety infringes on my rights as a smoker. I would like to see designated smoking areas at the beach that would reduce if not eliminate litter, and most importantly not interfere with those who are simply trying to enjoy their day. Whether this topic pertains to smoking at the beach or driving like an idiot because you are late for work; I think we all should be considerate to those around us.

  10. Brian O'Donaghey Says:

    “This will save a lot of money” Sobel said.
    Sorry, but I gotta wave the big BS flag on Sobel and all those who use that as a reason.
    Why? ‘cuz it ain’t so…they won’t save a penny….and they can’t prove it.
    So before you come back at me, How Much $ is saved?…. What positions, equipment, or man hours will be eliminated?….What analytical process did they use to come to that amount?….is that silence in reply?….I thought so.
    The sheep will swallow anything.

  11. BL Says:

    This bill would allow home rule, however the bill does exempt sidewalks connected to private businesses. Restaurants would be able to still have their smoking section outside. As much as I would love to be able to dine al fresco in Florida, this bill would not help that. It’s a small concession to have the option of smoke free playgrounds and parks n

  12. oksolarled Says:

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  13. Searcher1 Says:

    So, what happened to the NO-GOVERNMENT PARTY? The Repubbies like to mess with personal behavior (gay marriage, abortion, etc.) while saying the are for small government.

  14. Jay Says:

    And next up, banning drinks because you might spill some onto the sand and contaminate it, banning umbrellas because your shade interfeers with my tan, banning chairs because I might trip over one and break my leg…..this friggin state is out of control with these morons in Tallahassee

  15. Oli Says:

    I am for this. The smoke is not so bad on the beach, its the butts. So many smokers use the streets and beach as a personal asthray. I go into friends or family’s cars that smoke, its weird, they smoke in the car, but no butts to be found, I wonder where they they go. most smokers use the street and the beach as a garbage can. BAN it

  16. Palm Beach Mama Says:

    I once knew a woman who could smoke from her “V” and her “A” at the same time and I could CARE LESS where she flicked her butts.

  17. I've seen it....BLECH! Says:

    @Palm Beach Mama,

    You have some nerve talking about someone’s “V” & “A”! I’ve seen your “V & A” and let me tell ya! Can you say “Cottage cheese anyone”?

    Now slither on back to backpage where you belong!

  18. nemo Says:

    The anti-smoking Nazis are in full bloom. Let’s get rid of drinking at the beach…drinking anything. Then we can regulate food…nothing to make us too fat, or unhealthy. Thank God…if we are still allowed to say that..we have the liberal left Nazis to look out for us. How did we ever survive so long without them?

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