At the Destin City Council meeting on Tuesday, January 3, 2022, council members discussed the possibility of implementing a ban on smoking at public parks and beaches within the city.
- The discussion was prompted by Mayor Bobby Wagner and was discussed earlier in the day at a separate Okaloosa Board of County Commissioners meeting.
Councilmember Teresa Hebert made a motion for the city of Destin to enact an ordinance prohibiting the use of any tobacco products, including vaping, on public beaches and parks within the city limits. City Manager Lance Johnson said that staff would be happy to bring back options for such an ordinance at the next council meeting for discussion.
- Note: This is just for discussion. The city will have to advertise a public hearing when actually voting on whether or not to implement the no smoking ban.
Councilmember Jim Bagby raised concerns about the definition of “public beaches,” pointing out that while it would include beach parks and access points, it wouldn’t necessarily apply to all beaches within the city limits. He emphasized the need to ensure that the council was legally on solid ground and not trying to regulate people exercising their rights on their private property.
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Councilmember Dewey Destin expressed reservations about the feasibility of enforcing a smoking ban on public beaches, which he says can be difficult to define.
In the end, City Staff will bring back a draft ordinance for the council to discuss before advertising for a public hearing to vote on the matter.