By Kevin Deutsch
Broward municipalities would gain the power to restrict smoking at local parks and beaches under legislation passed by the Florida House of Representatives.
The bill, HB 105, passed in the House by a vote of 105-10 on Feb. 24. A companion bill in the Florida Senate, SB 224, has cleared the necessary chamber committees and awaits a vote on the Senate floor, records show.
The proposed law would give municipal governments like Coral Springs the authority—long sought by local officials—to regulate all forms of tobacco smoking, including vaping, in public parks and beaches owned by Florida municipalities or counties.
The newly invested authority would come from an amendment to the Florida Clean Indoor Air Act, which the legislation gives a new name: the Florida Clean Air Act.
The bills would also grant municipalities the power to regulate smoking within 25 feet of entrances to most local businesses.
In its current form, the Senate version of the bill still permits vaping and the smoking of cigars that do not have plastic tips. The differences in the House and Senate bills would have to be reconciled before a final vote.
Coral Springs officials have long supported a change to state law granting them the power to regulate smoking.
“Our City Commission voted unanimously to pass and adopt [a similar] resolution as part of their commitment to ensuring Coral Springs remains the premier community in which to live, work and raise a family,” Lindsey Steinberg, a spokeswoman for Coral Springs, said in a written statement.
“The city’s commitment to being an active, healthy community, as well as an attractive community, help guide the strategic direction of Coral Springs,” Steinberg said. “Current law prohibits local governments, like Coral Springs, from setting up reasonable smoke free zones at our public parks. These zones will allow residents and visitors to enjoy our expansive parks, playgrounds, and recreation fields without exposure to unhealthy second-hand smoke while eliminating discarded cigarette butts and other smoking-related trash.”
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- Kevin Deutsch is an award-winning crime journalist and author. A graduate of Florida International University, Kevin has worked on staff at The Miami Herald, New York Daily News, and The Palm Beach Post.
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