Bill to Ban Beach Smoking Changes

Tykena Buckner is taking a break from her busy life. She brought a friend’s daughter to a park near the state capitol to feed the ducks, and enjoy some fresh air.

“I generally try to come out here just to relax,” said Buckner.

Tykena says smokers have never bothered her at this park, but she does worry about kids breathing secondhand smoke and litter.

“I know just like I wouldn’t want to go to a restaurant and be around secondhand smoke I wouldn’t want to necessarily want it at a park,” said Buckner.

You don’t have to look very long to find the signs of smokers.

Litter is just one reasons state lawmakers are hearing a bill to allow local governments to ban smoking at parks and beaches.

The legislation passed a senate committee Thursday with little opposition. Before it passed it was amended by Senator John Thrasher. His amendment lessens the penalties for smokers and requires police to give them several warnings.

“We are not out there to have a cigarette police or a smoking police. You know that’s not what we are about. This is about the health and welfare of the people of the State of Florida,” said Thrasher.

While the bill is gaining momentum one concern remains, no one can say for sure how the changes would affect restaurants that allow outdoor smoking.

If the bill passes and a smoking ban at parks and beaches is enacted, people caught violating it could face a 100 dollar fine.