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FL senator pushing for bill to allow cities, counties to ban tobacco on beaches

Florida State Senator looking to ban smoking from Florida beaches
Posted at 5:50 PM, Jan 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-05 19:18:07-05

FORT MYERS BEACH, Fla. — Florida beaches are heavily populated throughout the year.

It brings families, laughs, and good times.

And on some occasions, it brings trash to the shoreline.

"We've been coming down here for 20 years and I don't see a lot of litter."

Fort Myers Beach might be one of the lucky ones when it comes to trash on the beach.

State senator Joe Gruters said cigarette butts are everywhere on Florida beaches.

That's why he's backing a bill that would allow counties and cities the option to ban tobacco and cigarettes from the beaches.

That doesn't sit well with some folks.

"I really don't think that they have the right to tell us that we can't smoke in a public area like this," said Mark Sterritc.

Others like the idea.

"I think I'm pro for that," said Kody Moore, "because it would just be good for the community and setting better goals for our future."

The folks at Fort Myers Beach Cigar Company, say a ban might make beach goers opt out of Fort Myers Beaches since they aren't allowed to smoke.

"In a situation like that," said Isabel Villegeas, "we would have to move off the beach. Unfortunately, because we have to go after the good economy."

Isabel has been with this shop ever since it opened its doors 9 years ago and said a ban would not be very Florida-friendly.

"The beach is about the freedom and enjoying what you like to do," said Villegeas.

Others say they could avoid a ban if everyone put their cigarette butts where they belong.

"If people just picked up their trash. That goes for cans and stuff. You know, when's it going to stop," said Sterritc.