Senators back stamping out smoking in parks

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NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA

A Senate committee Monday approved a proposal that seeks to let local governments decide if they want to ban smoking at their public parks. The Innovation, Industry and Technology Committee backed the measure (SB 630), which would allow cities and counties to further restrict smoking within the boundaries of parks.

Bill sponsor Debbie Mayfield, R-Rockledge, said the proposal is intended to keep local parks “a healthy environment” for residents and children.

“Additionally, cigarette butts are one of the most littered items in our parks, which becomes a hazard to our wildlife,” Mayfield said.

The state, rather than local governments, generally controls tobacco-related laws and regulations. Under constitutional amendments passed in 2002 and 2018, smoking tobacco and vaping are banned in enclosed indoor workplaces throughout the state.

The 2018 amendment also allows local governments to adopt more-restrictive ordinances on vaping, which could include banning the use of electronic cigarettes in public parks.

A House version of Mayfield’s bill (HB 457) has not been heard in committees.

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