A ban on smoking cigarettes and other tobacco products on public beaches and in city parks in Miami Beach has been approved by commissioners. It will go into effect on January 1, 2023.
“This presents us with an opportunity to continue leading in our requirements for cleaner beaches and healthier lifestyles,” said Miami Beach Vice-Mayor Alex Fernandez in a statement. “Cigarettes are the wrong type of butts we want on our beaches.”
Anyone who violates the law could lead to a $100 fine or even arrests with a penalty of up to 60 days in jail.
“Smoking” is defined by the ordinance as “inhaling, exhaling, burning, carrying, or possessing any lighted tobacco product, including cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco and any other lighted tobacco product with the exception of unfiltered cigars.” In other words, vaping and unfiltered cigarettes and cigars will still be permitted.
“Delighted we are finally able to adopt this ban,” added Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber. “I am weary of the blight of cigarette butts and the secondhand smoke that too often invades our public spaces.”
Made of tightly packed plastic fibers, cigarette butts deteriorate into smaller pieces and accumulate in fish and other organisms. This negatively affects seabirds, sea turtles and marine mammals, according to marine nonprofit Ocean Conservancy.
The organization said cigarette butts have been the most commonly recovered item during three decades of its annual International Coastal Cleanup, which affects humans when they consume fish that have ingested cigarette butts.
The measure comes after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law House Bill 105, which amended the Florida Clean Indoor Air Act to allow cities and counties to restrict smoking at public beaches and public parks.