MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – The new year started in Miami Beach with a ban on cigarette smoking on the beach and at public parks after most city commissioners voted in support of it.
It’s a measure that Dave Dobler, of the Volunteer Cleanup nonprofit organization, and other local environmental activists advocated for and celebrated.
“Cigarette butts are the number one most littered item on beach cleanups and we find thousands and thousands and thousands of them,” said Dobler, an avid kayaker.
Police officers will be able to arrest repeat offenders at their discretion. The maximum punishment is a $500 fine and 60 days in jail.
Police officers will be issuing $100 civil fines to first offenders and $200 fines to second offenders within a 12-month period.
Vaping, cigars, and unfiltered cigarettes are still allowed.
Gov. Ron DeSantis made the ban possible when he signed a law in June that allowed local officials to regulate cigarette smoking at public beaches and parks.
Alex Fernandez, the city’s vice mayor, sponsored the ordinance. Commissioners voted on July 20 and passed it on Sept. 14, so it could become effective on Jan. 1.
The only Miami Beach commissioner who voted against the measure was Ricky Arriola, who said it will distract police officers from public safety.
“We shouldn’t be enforcing a law like this,” Arriola said.
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