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Lawmaker wants to clean up cigarette butts, air

8:01 AM, Mar 5, 2013   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. -- It might soon be illegal in some Florida cities to smoke in public places.

State Senator Rob Bradley (R-Orange Park) is sponsoring a bill that is currently moving through the state legislature.

The bill essentially expands the state's Clean Air Act to allow cities to enact smoking bans in outdoor public places.

It is already illegal in Florida to smoke around schools and many indoor establishments.

But Bradley's amendment would add public beaches, parks and other recreational areas to the list.

He told First Coast News the legislation does not force cities to enact smoking bans.

Rather, Bradley said they would have the option to regulate any issue as they see fit.

"This isn't a one size fits all regulation. All this bill simply does is say that, 'Here you go local communities, you decide how to tailor your regulation to fit your community's needs,'" he said.

Beachgoers, meanwhile, had mixed reactions to the idea.

"I think it's a good idea because it lessens the attraction to smoking for many people. So I think it would lead to a healthier population in general," said Jacksonville Beach visitor Emily Sioma.

Visitor Marsha Griggs said, "I think if people were just more conscientious, and instead of just throwing them on the ground as their garbage disposal, if they just put them in designated spots, who am I to say?"

Jacksonville smoker Steve Acton said, "I don't think that's right. That would be discrimination I believe, but they're going to do what they're going to do."

First Coast News reached out to several beach communities for comment. Only Jacksonville Beach responded.
Its city manager said the proposed legislation is not on the city's radar, and that it would be difficult to enforce.

The bill has cleared senate committee.

First Coast News

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