Florida law to allow counties to restrict smoking on the beach

On July 1, the Florida Clean Air Act will go into effect. The regulation gives counties and municipalities more ability to restrict where someone can smoke in public.

It will be up to the counties and municipalities if they want to restrict smoking at public beaches and parks. In Volusia, the beaches are governed by the county but the city of Daytona Beach Shores is preparing to police the beaches if the county puts it into their hands.

"I don’t like it when the smoke travels to families," said Nicole Huebener.

Huebener wouldn’t mind a smoking restriction on the beach. She’d rather not see the sand used as an ashtray.

"It makes Daytona look trashy. It’s a beautiful beach. That’s why everybody comes here to see the white sand and then when you see all the trash and all those butts. It makes you feel down a little bit," said Huebener.

"I think the lifeguards have enough to worry about on the beach," said Rachel Brooks. "This is an open area. This is still the USA. We’re still a free country. I’d rather lifeguards be worried about saving my kids than whether or not I’m smoking a cigarette in open air."

The City of Daytona Beach Shores discussed the regulation at their commission meeting and if the city would enforce it at their four public parks. 

"I can’t imagine why we wouldn’t," said Council member Rick Frizalone. "The governor signed it into law and I don’t know why we wouldn’t want to enforce it."

The city is in agreement on drafting an ordinance to restrict smoking at their parks and the beaches if the county leaves it up to them.

"If we do this ordinance I think it’ll make it very clear that yes we are interested in doing that and yes you would have our support too," said Mayor Nancy Miller.

Even if a restriction goes into effect, one wonders just how it would be enforced.

"If you’re expecting lifeguards to patrol cigarettes it’s impossible," said Brooks.

The city will go through the steps to draft an ordinance and have the first reading at their next meeting. They believe a citation would be a likely punishment if one is caught in one of their parks.