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Bill to Let Florida Cities Ban Playground Smoking Is Stalled

Publication Date: 3/28/2014
  • Author:JESSIE VAN BERKEL
  • Publication:HALIFAX MEDIA SERVICES

The battle between government regulation and smokers' freedom to light up has an unlikely setting: the playground.

If people want to smoke on the swings or by the slide, Florida's local governments cannot stop them- and it appears likely to remain that way, at least for another year.

A bill in the Florida House that would to allow cities and counties to ban smoking at playgrounds has stalled.

This year's bills would have allowed sheriff's deputies or police officers to fine someone up to $100 if they continued to smoke on a playground after a warning and request to leave.

Supporters of the proposed legislation noted that the state allows school districts to restrict smoking on their property.

"The same kids that are in the schools are on the playgrounds," Sarasota County Commissioner Joe Barbetta said.

"It shocks me that the Legislature wouldn't support it," he said. "It's a public health issue."

He pinned the bills' lack of progression on strong lobbying by the tobacco industry.