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Measure aims at smoking on the beach

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Local governments may now decide whether or not to allow cigarette smoking on local beaches under a new measure signed into law last month. Current law allows the state to regulate smoking and does not allow counties or municipalities to make their own rules about smoking.

Signed into law in June by Gov. Ron DeSantis, HB 105 allows county and city governments to restrict smoking at public beaches and public parks that they own. Municipalities may restrict smoking within the boundaries of public beaches and public parks that are within their jurisdictions but are owned by the county.

That means jurisdictions may permit smoking only in designated areas, levy fines for smoking on public beaches and parks, or ban smoking entirely.

The sole exemption is the smoking of non-filtered cigars.

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According to the summary of the law on the Florida Senate website, the purpose of the legislation is to “protect the public from the health hazards of secondhand tobacco smoke.”

The new law goes into effect on July 1.

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