Bill would allow Florida counties to ban smoking on beaches

A Florida lawmaker has filed a bill that would allow individual counties to ban smoking on public beaches and in parks.

Sen. Joe Gruters filed Senate Bill 670, which would prohibit smoking in state parks.

If passed, the bill would also authorize counties to further restrict smoking within the boundaries of public beaches and parks they own.

A similar bill has been introduced in the state's House of Representatives, while another bill in the Senate would also allow cities to ban smoking in their parks.

This isn't the first time Gruters, who represents Sarasota County and part of Charlotte County, has tried to get legislation passed that would curb smoking in public places.

He had filed a bill last session that would have banned smoking at all public beaches in Florida, but it did not make it out of committee. In this latest version, it would be up to individual counties to implement a smoking ban.

A report by the Ocean Conservancy says cigarette butts are the top pieces of trash found on beaches globally.

If the bill passes, it would take effect in July 2020.