Proposed Fla. bill will ban cigarettes from public beaches
A Florida state senator is attempting to revive a bill that would ban smoking at public beaches and areas within the boundaries of state parks. Cigarette butts (and the attached filters) are the No. 1 trash item collected along Florida beaches. They break down slowly, and often end up in food chain. If approved, the bill would take effect July 1.
Republican Joe Gruters, from Sarasota, said the bill is necessary to protect Florida’s most precious resource – its beaches.
“People want to enjoy their experience without having to deal with second-hand smoke and the litter of cigarette butts left behind. It’s time to get the bad butts off the beach and get the butts on the beach that we want,” he said. “People travel from around the world to visit our pristine shorelines and enjoy the Sunshine State’s natural beauty. We must do everything that we can to protect our most valuable asset.”
“These cigarette butts are fundamentally little pieces of plastic that can ultimately get into our wildlife, the fish we consume,” said J.P. Brooker, director of Florida’s Ocean Conservancy,. “We’re eating plastic in fish and shellfish. It’s a public hazard.