Destin looks to ban smoking, vaping on public beaches and in city parks

Tina Harbuck
The Destin Log

Lighting up a cigarette or vaping on public beaches or city parks in Destin may soon become a thing of the past. 

The City Council unanimously approved a proposed ordinance at its recent meeting last week that says, “It shall be prohibited for any person in or on any city-owned public park or public beach to smoke, burn, ignite, inhale, exhale or consume any cigarette, pipe, lighted tobacco product, electronic cigarette, or vapor producing device other than an unfiltered cigar.” 

Captain Leonard Destin Park located on Calhoun Avenue overlooking Choctawhatchee Bay opened in May of 2021.

This would include such parks as Morgan Sports Center, Clement Taylor Park and Capt. Leonard Destin Park to name just a few. 

“The ordinance does not include the ability to implement designated smoking areas,” City Manager Lance Johnson told the council. 

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“I think that is an option that the city would want to have in its pocket … to use it for some of the bigger venues,” Johnson said. 

The playgroud area at Captain Leonard Destin Park is near the parking lot.

He suggested the city might want to designate a parking lot or a portion of the parking lot for smoking. 

Councilman David Schmidt said when picking designated areas, they need to be mindful of the surroundings. 

For example, he brought up Leonard Destin Park off Calhoun Avenue. He said if they designate the parking lot, it’s next to the playground.

“If you’re by the water, you’re next to the picnic tables. I hope we keep that in consideration. It’s not always going to be easy to find designated areas and still keep the benefits of no smoking,” Schmidt said. 

The picnic tables at Captain Leonard Destin Park are located near the water.

Johnson said approximately 10 years ago the recreation committee tried to get the no-smoking in parks through. 

“We were close, but we didn’t get it. … I think this is the right thing to do for our parks,” Johnson said. 

More:Namesake: Clement Taylor Park, one of Destin’s oldest parks

Mayor Bobby Wagner agreed. 

“I think this is a no-brainer,” Wagner said. 

Johnson said the proposed ordinance aligns with the county ordinance as well. 

Councilman Teresa Hebert made the motion to move forward with the proposed ordinance with the stipulation to add “the ability” to set up designated smoking areas if the council so choses. It passed unanimously. Not present at the meeting were councilman Dewey Destin and Jim Bagby. 

The city clerk was directed to advertise the ordinance for first reading. The next City Council meeting is 6 p.m., Feb. 6.