In a significant move, the Sarasota County commissioners have unanimously agreed to implement a ban on smoking cigarettes and filtered cigars at all county beaches and parks, effective October 1, 2023. In preparation for the ban, the county plans to conduct an extensive outreach campaign in August and September to ensure public awareness and compliance.

The decision to impose the ban came after commissioners directed county staff to draft an ordinance prohibiting smoking at county-owned beaches and parks. On a 4-1 vote, with Commissioner Mike Moran dissenting, the ordinance was passed. Commissioner Neil Rainford and several other board members lauded the ban, emphasizing the importance of protecting children from second-hand smoke while they engage in recreational activities.

Sarasota County officials have outlined the enforcement measures for the ban, stating that violators could face fines of up to approximately $75.