News and Events

Tobacco Free Partnership Pushes for Tobacco Free Parks
November 1, 2023

With the passing of HB 105 within Florida state legislature, it has opened the doors to local governments and municipalities to set their own “smoke-free” zones in county owned parks and beaches. Gilchrist County being a land-locked county within the sunshine state we do not have beaches to regulate, but the county does have county owned parks and areas that will allow for the adoption of a stricter tobacco policy when discussing these areas. This is something the tobacco free partnership will be greatly pushing for in the new year with local decision-making boards as well as city boards within the county.

Parks are expected to be clean public areas for all residents to be able to go out and enjoy some fresh air and the beautiful weather that comes with living in Florida. Visitors to these areas should not have to be concerned about their children picking up old cigarette butts, vape cartridges, or any type of tobacco litter that gets left behind by using these products. They also shouldn’t have to worry about breathing in clouds of secondhand smoke from users who also may be out at the parks not being so conscious about who their air pollution may be affecting. With the adoption of a local ordinance to keep these outdoor public areas clean and safe for all visitors it would not only promote a healthier environment for everyone enjoying these public amenities, but it will also allow for the encouragement to our youth to live a healthy tobacco free life.

Adopting a new county ordinance should not cause too much of a hassle for our decision makers or future law enforcement who may need to help uphold the new rules but could allow for concerned parents or community members the ability to call and report an issue if visitors at these parks are not abiding by the rules. This will give local law enforcement the ability to help keep these parks clean, but also give them grounds to ask the individuals to leave or simply write them a ticket.

The tobacco free partnership will be looking to push this onto the agenda of the county commission boards members and would encourage support from other county committees as well as individuals who support this cause. If you would like to attend one of the future meetings of the partnership, please email: Here you will get all the latest local news on tobacco concerns as well as be invited to future meetings where you could become a key stakeholder in the future health of this beautiful small county. Keeping Gilchrist beautiful, natural, and keeping it the way it has aways been.