SARASOTA COUNTY – The Sarasota County Board of County Commissioners (BCC) voted 4-1 during the July 11  BCC meeting to adopt an ordinance prohibiting smoking at all county-owned beaches, beach access points, parks, natural areas and youth athletic and play areas.  

Ordinance 2023-01 amending Chapter 90, Article II. of the County Code, prohibiting smoking within all county-owned public beaches and parks will be effective Oct. 1, 2023.

Sarasota County staff is working to update all park signage and launched a public outreach campaign to educate citizens and visitors on the change.

Since 2007, the board has supported the regulation of outdoor smoking and the board’s action on Tuesday follows the state legislation that was enacted in 2022 allowing local counties and municipalities to further regulate smoking within public beaches and parks, excluding unfiltered cigars.

“Sarasota County remains committed to providing safe, world-class beaches and park amenities, and improving water quality,” said Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources (PRNR) Director Nicole Rissler. “This ordinance promotes healthy recreation while reducing second-hand smoke and cigarette-litter that could harm people and wildlife or end up in our waterways.”