Winter Park bans smoking and vaping in public parks and lake beaches
Cigar and pipe smokers are exempt from the ban
Nov. 10, 2023
By Beth Kassab
Winter Park became the latest city to ban smoking and vaping in public parks and beaches, though there appears to be a carve out for cigar smokers who want to partake on the city’s golf courses or other public parks.
“I think they smell worse than cigarettes, but that’s just me,” said Vice Mayor Sheila DeCiccio as the commission noted the exemption for cigars and pipes from Tallahassee.
The commission voted 4-1 to pass the ban with Commissioner Kris Cruzada as the only no vote.
In 2022, the Legislature repealed a pre-emption that prohibited local governments like Winter Park from enacting their own rules for smoking in their own parks.
About two dozen cities across Florida have adopted bans since then for parks, beaches and recreation facilities.
The purpose of Winter Park’s new rule is to provide a more pleasant experience for people using the parks and “to ensure the safety and health of park guests from the hazards of second-hand smoke,” according to a staff memo.
Resident Gigi Papa spoke against the ban not because she supports smoking, she said, but because she finds the ban to be an example of “government overreach.”
Commissioner Todd Weaver said the ban is important for health and safety, but also because it will help cut down on pollution.
“Cigarette butts one of the worst things that can go into the lakes,” he said. “Every time I go out on the golf course I have to pick up cigarette butts and cigar butts.”
Jason Seely, director of Parks & Recreation, said there won’t be an enforcement arm dedicated to the ban, but he will handle violations on a case-by-case basis.