By Agrippina Fadel
Residents who light up a cigarette at a city park could be slapped with a $250 fine.
The City of Tamarac banned smoking in all city parks, including e-cigarettes and vapes, filtered cigars, cigarettes, cigarillos, and pipes, on Jan. 11. The only exception to the ban is the smoking of unfiltered cigars.
The city commission approved the ordinance in the first reading on Dec. 14. They unanimously supported it again on Jan. 11, with the ban immediately going into effect.
Greg Warner, Director of Tamarac’s Parks and Recreation Department, said that the goal of the ordinance is to protect residents’ health and ensure everyone in the community has access to clean parks.
City parks have playgrounds and areas for families to gather; for many residents, parks may be the only available green spaces to enjoy access to clean, fresh air, said Warner.
The penalty for breaking the ordinance includes fines up to $250 for the first occurrence and $500 for each additional. According to Warner, repeat offenders may need to appear before a Special Magistrate and could be fined even more.
The city was able to draft the ordinance after the Florida Legislature passed HB 105 during the 2022 session, referred to as the Florida Clean Air Act. The House Bill specifically authorized municipalities to regulate and prohibit smoking within the boundaries of city parks. Previously, the State of Florida did not give the local government authority to restrict smoking.
The ordinance received positive feedback from the residents during the public comments, who said the ban on smoking would help people with allergies and protect residents from harmful second-hand smoke.
However, speakers also questioned whether the ordinance could be enforced. “We can’t get people to keep their dogs on a leash, never mind not smoking in the park,” said Mainlands resident Kate Johnson, who suggested hiring more code enforcement officers could help solve the issue.
The ordinance could be enforced by Parks and Rec staff, city code enforcement officers, and the Broward Sheriff’s Office, said Warner. The city would also post signs at strategic locations throughout the parks, and the staff would work with the Public Information Office to notify people about the new ordinance.
- Agrippina Fadel grew up in Siberia and received her master's in journalism from Tyumen State University. Agrippina is also a writer and editor at Draftsy.net. She has been a US resident for over ten years and speaks English and Russian.
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