Miami, Dec 29 The mecca of beach tourism in Miami Beach, Florida, will join a global trend of banning smoking in places like beaches and parks on Jan. 1, 2023, a milestone that for some The exception of cigars has caused tarnish.
Civil engineer John Michael Pierrobone of the Tobacco Free Partnership says anti-tobacco activists have been fighting to rid Florida’s beaches of smoke and cigarette butts for eight years, and in 2022 they’ve finally seen their efforts produce some results. given, though not all. pursue.
“Something is something,” says Pierobone, as a consolation. He was one of the originators of a law approved by the state Congress this year and signed last June by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, which allows municipal officials to It is in the hands of each city to decide whether or not to ban smoking on beaches and parks.
The law exempts unfiltered cigarettes at the state level, something that, according to Pierobone, follows the personal interests of members of Florida Congress who own or are lovers of cigar companies.
Eliminating the exception and including Florida state parks in the ban package are goals for activists in 2023 and beyond, says Pierbono, who admits it will be a long and complex task.
Image of Miami Beach, Florida
Miami Beach is not the first Florida city whose municipal officials have used the freedom granted by law to ban cigarette smoking on beaches and parks, but it is the most well known, which among others has taken a wave. can make an impact and above all, create awareness. In general public.
Those who defend the advisability of banning smoking on beaches and parks argue that tobacco smoke is injurious to health, that filters and cigarette butts are toxic and polluting waste, and that clean sand on beaches One of the most valuable items.
The organization Keep America Beautiful states that one-third of all trash that collects on United States beaches and parks is cigarette residue.
In Miami Beach, if the law is followed, the sand will not contain cigarette butts or filters, as is already the case on beaches in California and Hawaii, two tourism states that have long outlawed beaches and parks. Smoking is banned.
“We have a responsibility to protect this haven that is at the same time the city’s economic engine,” said Councilman Alex Fernandez, the promoter of the ordinance that goes into effect on January 1 in Miami Beach.
Fernandez explains that when one thinks of Miami or even Florida, what immediately comes to mind are the beaches of this city nestled in Miami Dade County.
They are confident the new norm will be respected, but for those who don’t, they are fined $100 for the first time and $200 for a second offense within the next 12 months.
In the event of a third offense, the offender can be arrested, says Fernandez, who is sure the thousands of tourists visiting Miami Beach will appreciate and enjoy public spaces free of smoke and cigarette butts.
Miami Beach does not have plans to create limited spaces for smokers, as Deerfield Beach, another South Florida city that has banned smoking in parks and beaches, has pledged to do. Smokers claimed it, Pierobone noted.
According to Fernandez, the ban had to be imposed in Miami Beach because people who smoke in parks and beaches are unable to carry the remnants of their habit with them.
filter by Nature in danger
He stressed that these materials, which contain microplastics and chemicals, end up in the stomachs of animals and contaminate the sea, sand and grass.
The commissioner believes it would be good if the cigar exception were ever abolished, because even if they do not have filters and are biodegradable, other people do not have to inhale their smoke, although he considers this difficult to achieve. .
The Florida peninsula has about 825 miles (about 1,327 kilometers) of coastline, and there are still plenty of cities where smoking is still possible, Pierbone says.
Anti-tobacco activists say that in countries such as Spain, where the incidence of smoking is high, more than 500 beaches already have smoking bans, and Chile bans smoking within 80 meters of beaches, rivers and lakes.
In New Zealand, people born after 2009 will never be able to buy tobacco in that country, but the nation that has taken the lead is Bhutan, the first country in the world to ban smoking in public places (2005) and Where it is not Legal since 2010 to cultivate, harvest and produce tobacco or sell it.