The Florida Legislature has passed a new bill that would allow local governments in the Sunshine State to ban smoking on beaches and parks, but the bill is missing one element that it had in its original form—a cigar ban.
Originally, HB-105 would have paved the way for local governments to ban all kinds of smoking on beaches and parks, should they so desire, but on February 18 an amendment was added allowing for the puffing of premium cigars, specifically stating that it does not apply “to the smoking of unfiltered cigars.”
The amendment for cigars was made at the behest of Republican State Senator Jason Brodeur.
State Senator Joe Gruters (R-Sarasota) created the bill, and his plan was not to go after cigars, but cigarettes, particularly their butts. “All these cleanup days that we do, year after year, the No. 1 item that’s always found are the cigarette butts,” he said during a press conference from a Sarasota beach in January. “I always say we want freedom, but at the same time, we want quiet, peaceful enjoyment without putting your hands in your sand and picking up someone’s cigarette butts.”
The bill is now on its way to Governor Ron DeSantis, who could sign it into law.