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Collier County Commissioners want public hearing over beach smoking ban

Posted at 5:31 PM, Jul 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-12 18:44:57-04

NAPLES, Fla. — Collier County Commissioners voted unanimously on Tuesday for a public hearing over a possible smoking ban on public beaches and parks. The meeting is slated for either late October or early November.

It comes after a new state law went into effect July 1st - the Florida Clean Air Act - that gives local cities and counties across the state the choice of banning the smoking of any kind on the beaches and parks that they own, except for unfiltered cigars.

Commissioner Burt Saunders, who initially showed interest in discussing the ban further at a June 28th meeting, was physically absent on Tuesday - participating in the meeting by phone.

Commissioner Saunders recommended that the decision goes to a public hearing before the Commission made a decision on it.

“Nonsmokers love it, smokers think we’re infringing on their rights - and they both have a point. So I'd support a hearing to get a little bit more perspective," says District 1 Commissioner Rick LoCastro.

So far, Collier County has been the only governing body in Southwest Florida to discuss a potential ban, with Lee County and cities like Cape Coral telling Fox 4 that discussion of the ban isn't on the table.