A bill allowing counties and cities to regulate smoking will not impact those who want to vape or smoke cigars.
Representatives on Tuesday amended a bill (HB 105) aimed at restoring the ability of local governments to regulate smoking on public lands. An amendment passed without objection would make it clear that unfiltered cigars still cannot be regulated by anyone other than the state government and will remain legal.
“This change is being made to bring it in line with the Senate,” the rep said. randy gooda Republican from Palm Bay.
While the House is generally more reluctant to regulate, the Senate this year has taken a more conservative approach to the smoke it chokes.
Sen. Joe Grutera Republican from Sarasota, accepted in a stop of the committee limit the power to regulate to filtered tobacco products in the related Senate bill (SB 224). This is because the biggest concern addressed by the legislation is cigarette butts left as litter. Plastic filters from cigarettes consistently rank among the top trash items cleaned up from Florida beaches.
Plastic-tipped cigars, which also leave behind a non-biodegradable byproduct, may still be banned from beaches under House and Senate rules.
Another amendment passed by the House repeals a provision only considered in the lower house. Previously, legislation allowed for a smoking ban within 25 feet of entrances to most businesses. But that is no longer contained in the bill either.
Notably, there are now parts of the Senate bill that do not appear in House legislation, such as requiring counties with a smoking ban to post signs informing visitors of exceptions to the rule.
Fine carried the House bill with Rep. Thad Altmanan Atlantic Indian Republican.
“This will primarily help children and provide smoke-free areas in our parks and beaches,” Altman said during a committee stop last week.
The issue is one that has been raised and died for several years in a row in the Legislative Assembly. While the current version only allows cities and counties to ban strained tobacco products, this is the first year that legislation looks set to pass in both houses.
The House will vote on the prosecution bill this Thursday.