Lake Worth Beach, FL, beach, city parks to go tobacco free along with grounds of city buildings..

April 20 2011 - moking would be banned at Lake Worth Beach, city parks and the grounds of city buildings under tobacco-free rules the city plans to create.

Commissioners directed city staff Tuesday, April 19th to develop a tobacco-free parks and workplace ordinance modeled after one suggested by the county health department.

Goals include reducing litter, promoting a healthy lifestyle and reducing health insurance costs for city employees, Mayor Rene Varela said.

Enforcement would not be strict and would likely come by raising awareness about the ordinance, Varela said.,

"We all know realistically we're not going to have police out there enforcing this," Varela said. "A big push in public health is creating awareness."

The health department has offered to help the city with its anti-smoking campaign at no charge by:

Providing tobacco-free signs for property.
Helping organize events to raise awareness about the hazards of smoking.
Supplying brochures about smoking and contact information for the Florida Quitline, a telephone service that provides counseling, nicotine patches and other services to smokers trying to quit.
Offering city employees services to help them quit smoking.

Vice Mayor Suzanne Mulvehill said she worried that establishing a tobacco-free beach would discourage some people from coming.

She dropped her concern after hearing health department statistics showing that more than 80 percent of county residents are non-smokers.

"It's going to be part of reinforcing that we are a green, living city," Mulvehill said .

Resident Erica Whitfield urged commissioners to develop the tobacco-free ordinance, noting that she was tired of removing cigarette butts from the sand while building sand castles with her daughter .

Barbara Jean Weber, a smoker, urged the commission to ban smoking at the beach.

"The beach is a gorgeous, exquisite, living thing," Weber said. "When I go to church, I don't put my cigarette out on sacred ground."

Reference: Lake Worth beaches, parks to go tobacco free, by Willie Howard, Palm Beach Post Staff Writer,, 4/19/2011.