SARASOTA, Fla. -
No longer can you light up in Sarasota parks. City commissioners voted unanimously on Monday to ban tobacco use in all city parks, and will begin looking at specific city owned buildings as well.
The ban comes with a prior recommendation by the city's Parks, Recreation and Environmental Protection Agency and does not include city-owned properties partnered with a private company.
Many people spoke in favor of the ban at Monday's meeting, while others took the podium against the ordinance. Those in favor said they were tired of looking at cigarette butts all over the public parks. Those who spoke against the ordinance felt it was targeting specific park-goers.
Commissioner Shannon Snyder said the ban puts the city in line with other county entities that have banned tobacco use like the Sheriff's Office and all Sarasota County Schools.
"This ordinance does apply to all city parks, not one particular park," Snyder said in response to many commenters who said the ordinance was directed at the homeless at Five Points Park. "If New York can ban smoking in their public parks, I think Sarasota can catch up."