Smoking ban could extend to outdoor parks and beaches

Help to quit smoking now available in Georgia
Posted at 7:36 PM, Feb 22, 2013
and last updated 2013-02-27 05:38:51-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL)--Diane Starke frequently visits Lake Ella in Tallahassee. She says she sees people smoking in the park all the time which is why she's hoping Florida lawmakers will do something about it.

"This a heavily frequented and heavily populated park with adults children, pets, its to close in area to avoid inhaling carcinogens second hand smoke," said Starke.

But, that could soon be changed. Florida senators are working on a bill that would make it against the law to smoke at public parks, beaches, playgrounds, and other recreational areas.

This would be an extension to existing law in Florida that already bans smoking inside of restaurants and other public places.

But what about restaurants on beaches where many people eat and smoke outside?

That's the question, Richard Turner asked. He represents Florida Restaurants and Lodging Association.

"Anytime you have a patchwork of different laws and regulations all over the state, each are a little different then the other it causes some confusion," said Turner.

Turner says the 2002 ban on indoor smoking had a huge impact of the state's restaurant industry.

"Our industry has spent hundreds of millions of dollars of reconfiguring their establishments to accommodate the new law in the customers," said Turner.

While Turner says they'll be looking throughout the legislative session to get clarity..the bill is now on the move. If the bill becomes a law, violators could face $100 fine.