Okaloosa County We are considering implementing a smoking ban in all county-owned public parks and public beaches. At a county board meeting Tuesday afternoon, the board discussed a possible ban.
Chapter 2022-213 allows smoking cessationa law signed by Governor DeSantis on June 24, 2022, amended the Florida Clean Air Act to allow restrictions on smoking in public beaches and parks owned by counties and municipalities.
- Several other Florida counties and cities, including Fort Walton Beach, Panama City Beach, and Pensacola, have already enacted ordinances banning smoking in public parks and beaches.
According to Deputy County Administrator Craig Coffey, the main complaints the county receives are about smoking debris, not actual smoking. Coffey said smoking debris, including plastic e-cigarette cartridges, has been found at every park and beach in the county and is particularly prevalent on beaches.
- During the recent International Beach Cleanup Day in September, Volunteers collected 8,000 cigarette butts From 6 area beach.
As a response to this probleman ordinance amendment to Section 16-43 would ban smoking in all county-owned public parks and public beaches.
- “Any person smoking, burning or lighting tobacco, pipes or other lit tobacco products other than unfiltered cigars in or at any public park or public beach owned by the County. , inhaling, spitting, or possessing is prohibited.”
Commissioner Nathan Boyles expressed concern about the use of the word “owned” in the Amendment.
“I’m thinking about the theoretical guy who lit a cigarette on the beach and parked his car four blocks away, completely unaware of the problem, and someone said to him,”hey you can’t do that here,’ he explained. “They put away their cigarettes and technically say,”No, I have to go back to the parking lot to put the cigarette in the car”
Coffey said law enforcement is largely educational, with warnings and limited fines for violators. Primary enforcement is expected to be conducted by beach safety and enforcement teams, which will also address other safety issues, sales, weddings, picnics, and other non-life safety activities. Under the new law, any law enforcement agency can enforce the ban.
Another Concern Raised During the meeting, we will consider how smoking bans will affect larger events at county parks and venues such as rodeos at Baker Arena.
“I can’t imagine not forgiving you [smoking] during the rodeo,” said Commissioner Carolyn Ketchel.
- Coffey went on to say that other counties have taken the approach of allowing smoking if the event has a special permit that specifically states that you intend to smoke at the event.
Eventually, The commissioner voted in favor of banning smoking in all public parks and beaches in Okaloosa County. Staff are currently working on the final details of the ordinance, with a public hearing scheduled for January 17.