So Long, Smoke

Smoking at Sarasota County Parks and Beaches Is Now Banned

Citing safety and environmental impacts, the Sarasota County Commission created a new ordinance to ban cigarettes in county-owned spaces.

By Kim Doleatto October 2, 2023

A year ago, the City of Sarasota banned smoking at city beaches and parks, but cigarettes were still allowed on county beaches, like the famous one on Siesta Key. That's no longer the case, thanks to a new county ordinance that went into effect on Oct. 1. From now on, smoking will be banned in all county parks and on all county beaches, too.

County commissioners voted 4-1 in July to adopt the new measure, which prohibits smoking at all county-owned beaches, beach access points, parks, natural areas and youth athletic and play areas. Park signage is being updated and a public outreach campaign is intended to educate and inform citizens and visitors about the change.

The wording of the new ordinance points to environmental and safety problems that littered cigarette butts can cause, and cites how butts can "lead to severe burns and/or ingestion hazards to park patrons and wildlife, can significantly detract from a healthy environment, and reduce the enjoyment of the County's beaches and parks."

Those in violation of the ordinance could be subject to a $74.50 fine, plus possible additional costs. But for now, people will be made aware of the change before enforcement.

For a full list of Sarasota County-owned beaches and parks, click here. For a full list of city-owned parks and beaches, click here. On both city and county properties, unfiltered cigars are still allowed.

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