The Hallandale Beach City Commission is contemplating an ordinance that would make smoking illegal on the city's public beaches. "There are obviously anti-littering laws, but it's easy to just stick a cigarette in the sand," says Commissioner Keith London, who proposed a feasibility study for a no-smoking-on-the-beach ordinance after learning that cigarette butts accounted for 46% of the trash plucked there during prior beach clean-ups.
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Preliminary inquiries show that the city might have to defer to state officials on matters related to smoking legislation. That might explain why, as far as I can tell, no city in Florida has banned smoking on its beaches.
Now, I'm all for a good smoke now and then. And I should confess to having enjoyed, and then mashed out, a number of cigarettes on various beaches during my younger, more reckless days. But here's the problem with stubbing that sucker out on the ground: A cigarette butt takes years to disintegrate. The filters are made of cellulose acetate (rayon); they leach toxins (tar); and sea birds sometimes mistake them for food (one hell of a belly ache).
So, good luck Hallandale.