Protect Local Control

Ensuring Community Rights
To Pass Smokefree Ordinances

Action Alert

Do you support local control of smokefree air in Florida?

Publication Date: 2011-03-15

Do you think it’s fair that Florida communities have not been allowed to adopt smokefree air policies for the last 25 years?

Florida residents like you are needed to get involved in the effort to build public support for changing this law.

Since 1985, Florida has been one of the only states in the country to prohibit cities and counties from adopting ordinances to regulate smoking in workplaces and public places. Without local control, Florida communities have fallen dangerously behind the rest of the U.S. in protecting people from the health hazards of secondhand smoke exposure in workplaces and public places.

The 2003 Florida Clean Indoor Air Act makes restaurants and most workplaces smokefree, but smoking is still allowed in bars, music venues, and other hospitality workplaces. Because of preemption, communities cannot expand the law locally to cover these venues. Local governments also are not permitted to adopt laws for outdoor areas where people gather and are exposed to secondhand smoke, like restaurant patios, beaches, playgrounds and parks.

Why is this type of law, called preemption, in place in Florida? Because the tobacco industry hand-picked Florida as its test case to see how effective preemption could be as a way to halt local communities’ progress on smokefree air. And sadly it has been very effective.

We hear from many residents, bartenders, musicians, city council members, and other Floridians who want to take action. The time has come for Florida to restore local control so that communities can adopt smokefree air laws that help create cleaner, healthier, more vibrant places to work and play. And you can help!

Here are two things you can do to help:

1. Click here to send an email to your Florida state representative and senator, and ask them to support House Bill 211 and Senate Bill 1070. These bills would allow communities to adopt smokefree laws for outdoor public places like parks, beaches and recreation facilities. These bills only go part way, but they can be a first step towards the goal of fully restoring local control of smokefree air for all areas—indoors and outdoors.

2. Ask your City Council or County Commission to adopt a resolution asking the Florida Legislature to fully restore local control of smokefree air to Florida communities. Click here for a sample resolution. Remind them that it is the right and responsibility of local governments to address health and safety concerns in their communities. If your city or county does adopt a resolution, please send us a copy, so we can track the growing support in Florida.

Want more information?

If you are interested in learning more about preemption in Florida, its negative impact on public health, and why it's important to restore local control, please see Preemption of Smokefree Air Laws in Florida.

Thanks for taking action! Please contact us for more information about these bills or the resolution efforts.