State may allow local bans on smoking in parks - FOX 13 News

State may allow local bans on smoking in parks

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

State lawmakers are considering some major changes in smoking regulations. And they could start by allowing communities to ban smoking around children in parks.

While current state law gives smokers the right to light up on public playgrounds, some cities and counties have tried to stop it. But state law preempts local smoking bans -- so they can be difficult to enforce.

For example, Hillsborough County bans smoking in designated park facilities, but a county attorney said no citations have been issued to offenders -- they are counseled/advised not to smoke instead.

But state lawmakers may soon change Florida's law. Bills filed in the House and Senate would give the power to local governments. They could pass and enforce smoking bans in city and county parks that cater to children. And that could open the door to more extensive bans at other parks and beaches.

LINK: Read the bills

It is drawing a mixed response here in the Bay Area.

"I know smoking is bad and we all know that. It's a fact," said Angie Toldeo. "As a grandmother, I bring my grandkids to the park because I think it's healthy."

"I don't think it is right you ban people from smoking outside. This is America," said Deborah Hermoso. "I can understand inside a restaurant with the second hand smoke. But you're outside. How is that affecting anyone other than that person?"

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