The Monroe County Board of County Commissioners prohibited smoking within all County-owned public parks and public beaches.
The new ordinance reads: (a) It shall be prohibited for any person in or on any County-owned public park or public beach to smoke, burn, ignite, inhale, exhale, or possess any cigarette, pipe, or other lighted tobacco product other than an unfiltered cigar. (b) Any person who violates subsection (a) commits a noncriminal violation, punishable by a fine of not more than $100 for the first violation and not more than $500 for each subsequent violation.
The United States Department of Health and Human Services has found that tobacco smoke contains over 7,000 toxic and carcinogenic chemicals, and an estimated two-thirds of cigarette butts are discarded as litter.
The State of Florida recently granted counties and municipalities the legal authority to restrict smoking within the boundaries of the county and municipal-owned public beaches and public parks, with an exception for unfiltered cigars. Before July 2022, counties and cities could not restrict smoking at parks and beaches.
Monroe County-owned parks and beaches can be found at www.monroecounty-fl.gov/parks.