New bill would ban smoking cigarettes on the beach

Clean it up and get your butts off the beach!

The City of Bonita Springs wants to have the final word on whether smokers can remain on the sand. But it is causing controversy with the state as a similar bill already proposed the same concept.

“I sprinkle out the lit part and carry the butt with me until I find a trash can and throw it in the trash,” Stella Torres said.

Torres is a smoker but does not have a burning desire to do it on the beach. She told WINK News she actually would not mind if it were banned on the sand.

A state bill, which has recently been proposed, fines those who litter “butts” on the beaches. The Florida Senate has referred the bill to the Environment and Natural Resources Committee. If it eventually passes, the law would go into effect July 1.

“All this state preemption stuff one way or another seems to be out of control,” said Peter O’Flinn, a council member.

But no matter what the city of Bonita Springs thinks about banning cigarettes on the beach, they have their hands tied. The city has no authority to enforce or control littering cigarettes on the beach.

“In other words, we could say nicely we don’t want any smoking on the beaches in Bonita Springs,” Mayor Peter Simmons said. “However, there would be nothing we could do that would make it binding.”

But city council members are not snubbing out their idea to potentially regulated smoking on the beach one day. But they are going to have to sit back and wait until they have the power to do so.


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