News and Events

New Bill Gives Life to Tobacco-Free Parks Initiatives in Florida
By: Christien Peterson
April 1, 2022

In March of 2022, Florida senators passed a significant bill that would give local communities the power to ban smoking at parks and beaches. Since 2003, Florida has struggled to control smoking on its beautiful parks and beaches due to a bill that limited city and county governments, only allowing the state of Florida to restrict tobacco use. Smoke-free laws can help those who smoke quit while also preventing young people from becoming smokers. The passage of this bill will promote the health of communities by reducing smoking, which would protect communities from exposure to secondhand smoke and keep our parks and beaches clean.

Secondhand smoke comes from the use of tobacco products that has been exhaled by the person using the tobacco products  Even being exposed to secondhand smoke for a short time can be harmful to the health of adults and children  Tobacco smoke contains over 7,000 chemicals that are known to be toxic and potentially cancer causing Secondhand smoke can have devasting effects on non-smokers and can potentially lead to lung cancer, heart disease, and stroke in adults Children are  also at high risk when exposed to secondhand smoke because their bodies are still developing   Tobacco-free laws are the only ways to protect nonsmokers from secondhand smoke completely. It is crucial for the health of our communities for our parks and beaches to be tobacco-free.  

Tobacco-free parks and beaches positively contribute to the health of people in the community and the health of our environment. Did you know that in 2019 cigarette butts were the most commonly found littered item on beaches and waterways in the United States? It is also estimated that every year tons of cigarette butts find their way into our environment A study discovered that one cigarette butt soaked for 24 hours in water released a number of toxins capable of killing half of the fish exposed to it for 96 hours Traditional cigarettes are not the only tobacco product that can harm the environment. Electronic cigarettes can be more of a threat by introducing metals, batteries, toxic chemicals from the liquid of electronic cigarettes, and single-use cartridges into the environment. Liquid cartridges from electronic cigarettes contain heavy metals and nicotine salts that get into the soil and waterways, threatening local wildlife who could consume them.

Nearly 2,500,000 nonsmokers have died of health problems resulting from secondhand smoke exposure since 1964 . The bill that will give power to local county and city governments to create tobacco-free parks and beaches is currently awaiting the governor’s decision, but it is evident that tobacco-free policies have a positive impact on the health of the public and the environment. If signed, this bill would allow local communities to enact stricter enforcement to existing tobacco-free parks policies, restricting secondhand smoke and promoting a healthier future for Floridians.

For more information on the Tobacco Free Partnership, or to learn about how you can get involved, contact Grace Greenberg at