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HomeBusiness & CommunityBeach smoking ban begins this spring

Beach smoking ban begins this spring

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Visitors to Hernando County beaches will have to wait to light-up under an ordinance that goes into effect in May.

In December, the Hernando County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) unanimously passed an ordinance that forbids cigarette smoking and vaping on County beaches beginning May 15.

Those who violate the ordinance can face fines of up to $1,000 for the first violation.
“Secondhand smoke is still dangerous,” shared Robert Talmage, Hernando County parks and recreation administrator. “Helping reduce the risk of exposure for citizens and children while they partake in recreation is a great achievement for our community.”

The measure stems partly from a 2022 Coastal Clean Up carried out by the University of Florida (UF) and the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) extension office that revealed that 974 cigarette buts were collected in one day from Linda Pederson Park all the way to Bayport.

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Another goal of the ordinance is the protection of the area’s waterways, said BOCC Chairman John Allocco.
“They (the smoking-related litter) cause degradation of our waterways,” Allocco said. “We are trying to protect taxpayer dollars and your investment in our parks.”

To help enforce the ordinance, the Hernando County Government and the Parks and Recreation Department have collaborated with the Tobacco Intervention Partnership to implement “no smoking or vaping” signs that will be installed at all the local parks and beaches.

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