Can I Get in Trouble for Smoking Cigarettes on the Beach?

June 30, 2022 Criminal Defense, News & Announcements

A new bill was signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis to change the rules of the beach. Specifically, prohibiting the use of cigarettes and smoking along the beaches. The House committee passed the bill in a unanimous vote, and now with DeSantis’ signature, it should help prevent littering caused by cigarette butts.

However now citizens may be wondering, can I get in trouble with the police for smoking a cigarette on the beach? We will cover the details of HB 105, the dangers of smoking and second-hand smoke, and the potential punishments that can arise from violating the new law.

Florida Clean Air Act

Florida Legislation has been working toward protecting its citizens from the hazards of secondhand smoke since it created the Florida Clean Indoor Air Act (FCIAA) in 1985. In 2003 there was a law passed by the state’s Legislature to prohibit workplaces from allowing smoking, which was a huge step in preventing health problems caused by secondhand smoke. The same amendment also banned smoking in most public places or private businesses, which includes restaurants.

Statistics on smoking cigarettes continuously show that it is highly dangerous to yourself and those around you. There are over 7,000 chemicals inside tobacco smoke, hundreds that are toxic, and around 70 that can cause cancer.

While smoking cigarettes has been banned in most public spaces, there are still exceptions to the prohibition. Among the spaces still available to smoke was the beach. That is, up until now. Gov. Ron DeSantis has just signed CS/HB 105, which is a regulation of smoking by counties and municipalities.

Smoking is defined as the “inhaling, exhaling, burning, carrying, or possessing any lighted tobacco product, which includes cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco, and any other lighted tobacco product.”

The new amendment changes the name from Florida Clean Indoor Act to the “Florida Clean Air Act.” Under the new law, Florida will now be able to regulate tobacco and vape smoking in more public spaces around the state. One of the main focuses of CS 105 is to regulate, and potentially ban, the use of cigarettes on Florida beaches.

The law will allow local leaders to have full jurisdiction over smoking regulation on the beach. Included will be the creation of designated smoking zones and fines, stricter laws on the disposal of cigarette butts, and even an outright ban. The only exception to the bill will be “unfiltered cigars.”

So is it illegal to smoke cigarettes on the beach? While you may not get arrested or charged with a crime, there may be consequences such as expensive fines or bans from the beach, depending on the rules and ordinances decided by your local government.

Local leaders will be in charge of deciding whether they should create a designated smoking area along the beaches, and what kind of fines or punishments will occur if an individual violates the new law. Time will tell if the Florida coastal counties will restrict and ban smoking on the beach. You can check any Florida county’s municipal code here.

The newly-signed law is set to go into effect as of July 1st, 2022.

*While Pumphrey Law Firm does not cover civil violations, it is important to pay attention to your local area’s rules in accordance with the new law.


The Ocean Conservancy of Florida is viewing the new law as a huge win for the state’s environment. Cigarette butts are a major source of pollution along Florida beaches that impact both the land and the wildlife.

In one of the organization’s largest cleanup efforts last year, they picked up over 180,000 cigarette butts from along the Florida beaches.

Director Jon Paul Brooker of Florida Conservation at the Ocean Conservancy discussed the ongoing issue that cigarettes pose for animals that live around the beach. This includes how birds mistake cigarette butts for food or nesting items, or fish ingesting them and then it ends up in restaurants when a fish is served as food.

“Animals are deeply affected by cigarette butt plastic,” Brooker said. “We have seen pictures of birds feeding cigarette butts to their chicks, we’ve seen cigarette butt plastic accumulating in the guts of fish, and so if we can reduce the amount of plastic in the environment, we can alleviate those impacts on our wildlife.”

In addition, Brooker provided the following comment regarding Florida’s willingness to do something about the threats to Florida’s ecosystem:

“Cigarette butts are fundamentally little pieces of plastic and a key mission of ours is to get plastic out of the marine environment because of the effect it has on our ecosystem and on the marine environment. There is growing awareness of the threats to Florida and I think there is a growing willingness to do something about it.”

Finding a Defense Attorney in Tallahassee, Florida

If you or a loved one have been accused of a crime, it is imperative that you seek out the legal advice of a skilled defense attorney. Navigating the legal world can seem like a daunting task, and it can seem intimidating to go it alone. Luckily, you won’t have to with the help of Pumphrey Law Firm. Don Pumphrey and his team have represented clients all across the state for various criminal charges, and vow to stand by your side throughout the entire process. To work on building a strong defense for your case, get a free consultation today by calling (850) 681-7777 or leave an online message on our website.

Written by Karissa Key

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