Lawmaker renewing push to ban smoking on Fla. beaches and parks

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A Florida lawmaker is renewing his push to ban smoking on public beaches and in parks. 

This is the second consecutive year lawmakers will consider making it illegal to smoke in public spaces. Sen. Joe Gruters, R-Sarasota, filed the bill this month. This time, the bill will also include vaping.

If passed, It would be illegal to smoke in state parks and counties would be allowed to ban smoking on public beaches and in public parks. It also requires a statewide tobacco education and prevention program.

A similar bill was introduced in the last legislative session but it did not make it out of committee.

According to Ocean Conservancy, cigarettes are the most collected item worldwide.

During its last international cleanup, almost 2.5 million cigarette butts were collected which is enough to line the distance of five marathons.

In Florida, Beaches Go Green said during its last cleanup, it collected roughly 4,000 cigarettes.

If this bill is passed, it would go into effect in July.

If you want to help cleanup local beaches and pick up any cigarettes found on the beach, the City of Jacksonville and Keep Jacksonville beautiful has a Beach Cleanup event scheduled on Saturday Nov. 2 at 8 a.m. The group is meeting on First Street North.

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