Sarasota County talks beach smoking ban

Sarasota County Smoking Ban
Sarasota County Smoking Ban(WWSB)
Published: Feb. 27, 2023 at 10:11 PM EST
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SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - At a meeting last week, Sarasota County Commissioners decided they will discuss adding a smoking ban to county beaches. Commissioner Mark Smith is pushing for the ban as a way to keep pollution off the beaches.

“My mother was a smoker and I used to joke with her -- to a smoker, the whole world is an ashtray. So, unfortunately, a lot of smokers believe that and we’re trying to keep the beaches clean and the butts get into our canals and then the water and drainage system.”

The county previously had a smoking ban in place for county beaches back in 2007. The ban didn’t last long as a circuit court judge ruled it unconstitutional in 2012. However, in 2022 state legislatures created a law allowing counties and cities to put in place their own bans if they want to. The only exception is that counties and cities can’t ban smoking cigars.

Larry Harden is visiting Siesta Key Beach from Michigan. He’s all for the ban explaining that children and cigarettes don’t go together. Adding that beaches are a good spot for families to go to.

“I have five children and there were a few occasions in Michigan on the beaches where I saw they put something in their mouth and one of the times it happened to be a cigarette butt,” explained Harden.

Harden added that it’s not about getting people to quit smoking but being respectful of others on the beaches.

“There is a place for smoking but I just don’t think the beach is one of them. You know we’re down here to enjoy this beautiful scenery and just to have you know cigarettes and all that, I just don’t think the beach is the place for it,” stated Harden.

There is no meeting date set for the smoking ban discussion. Commissioner Smith said it will be sometime in the future.