Starting New Year’s Day, you can still wear bikinis on the beaches of Miami Beach, but forget about showing any butts — cigarette butts, that is.
A smoking ban is being implemented Sunday after the stroke of midnight at all Miami Beach municipal parks and public beaches. Under the new measure, a person can be fined $100 and spend up to 60 days in jail for a first-time violation.
But in Key Biscayne, Mayor Joe Rasco said he didn’t see any immediate need to echo Miami Beach’s action, although many other municipalities are considering bans.
“I have not heard that smoking is a problem on our beaches so I don’t think we need to restrict it at this time. I think the few smokers on our beach are responsible enough to pick up their cigarette butts and take them with them,” Rasco said.
In June, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a law that allows municipalities to regulate smoking and vaping on public beaches and parks that they own.
Miami Beach City Commissioner Alex Fernandez said he sponsored the measure to keep the city’s beaches pristine and protect sea turtles, seabirds and other wildlife. According to the Ocean Conservancy, cigarette butts are the most commonly recovered item during coastal cleanup efforts.
“This paradise is an important economic engine,” Fernandez said in a statement. “Cigarette butts are not the butts our 18 million visitors want to see. This new law will help keep our paradise clean and beautiful.”
Miami Beach is the top neighborhood for tourists visiting greater Miami. The greater metro area attracted 24.2 million visitors last year.