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A Voice for Our Ocean

Miami Beach’s New Smoking Ban on Beaches is Here

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Miami Beach Commissioner Alex Fernandez (left) and Ocean Conservancy's director of Florida Conservation J.P. Brooker (right) bring attention to a new smoking ban with sculptures of giant cigarette butts at Miami Beach, Florida. © Ocean Conservancy / RaeChelle Davis - Catalyst Communications Group

MIAMI BEACH – Ocean Conservancy is making a statement so beach goers will pay attention to the new law that bans smoking on beaches in Miami Beach. Giant cigarette butt sculptures were temporarily placed in the sand at a news conference today to educate the public about the new smoking ban that officially became law on January 1.

“As we start 2023, we want people to take note that cigarettes have no place on our beaches. Ocean Conservancy advocated strongly for this very important law, and we are thrilled to see Miami Beach take this significant and proactive step to protect our environment,” said Jon Paul “J.P.” Brooker, director of Florida Conservation at Ocean Conservancy. “Cigarette butts may be small, but they have a lasting, harmful effect on our wildlife and ocean.”

More than two dozen Florida cities are now taking action to ban smoking on beaches, from Sarasota to Jacksonville to Miami Beach. This comes after the Florida Legislature passed a law last year which allows municipalities to vote to enact their own local bans.

“The message is simple: let’s get the bad butts off the beach. Smoking is no longer allowed,” said Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber. “People from around the world come to enjoy Miami Beach, and our beaches are the crown jewel. We are standing up to protect our most valuable and beloved gem for generations to come.”

Cigarette butts are made of tightly packed plastic fibers that are laced with toxic chemicals. They can erode into smaller bits and accumulate in fish and other organisms, impacting animal health and reproductivity.

For more than 30 years, cigarette butts have been the most commonly found item on Florida beaches during Ocean Conservancy’s annual International Coastal Cleanup.

“This new law has the ability to make a huge impact. Eleven million tons of plastic enter the ocean each year. That’s like dumping more than a garbage truck full of plastic into the ocean every single minute. Cigarette butts never fully degrade, which means they stay in the ocean indefinitely,” Brooker added.

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Ocean Conservancy is working to protect the ocean from today’s greatest global challenges. Together with our partners, we create evidence-based solutions for a healthy ocean and the wildlife and communities that depend on it. For more information, visit http://www.oceanconservancy.org, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

 

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