ALABAMA HAS 52 MILES OF BEACHES THAT FUEL A SIGNIFICANT CHUNK OF ITS $14.3 BILLION TOURISM INDUSTRY.
Beach and Gulf Shores have jurisdiction over the most popular public beach spots that fuel a significant chunk of Alabama’s $14.3 billion tourism industry.
The smoke-free public beach in Alabama is part of an ordinance that also bans pets, fireworks, alcoholic beverages, open fires, drones, and laser pointers. The ordinance makes exceptions for service animals.
Brown said enforcement is not rigorous but fines are stiff. Violators could face fines of up to $500 and jail time. The Gulf Shores ordinance represented the first time an Alabama governing body adopted a smoking ban to also include e-cigarettes, anywhere along a beachfront.
A Florida lawmaker introduced a bill this week that would criminalize smoking on public beaches, levying $25 fines on offenders or up to 10 hours of community service. Alabama beach cities are keeping an eye on the Florida measure, with an interest in possibly following suit. Florida has had a statewide indoor smoking ban in place 2003, although bars are exempt.
“We’ll be curious to see how Florida proceeds,” said Phillip West, coastal resource director for Orange Beach. “If it passes, we’ll be interested in how they enforce it and what kind of push back they might get.”
“I am aware of what’s being pursued in Florida and (a beach smoking ban) has come up before in the past. But there have been no heavy conversations about it,” said Dauphin Island Mayor Jeff Collier.
In Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, both cities