ST. PETERSBURG Fla, (WFLA) — On Thursday, the St. Petersburg City Council voted unanimously to ban the smoking of cigarettes and vapes at the city’s parks and beaches.  

Governor Ron DeSantis signed a new law that would leave it up to cities and counties to decide if they want to enforce a smoking ban.

Several citizens spoke out during the council meeting on why they felt the ordinance should be enforced in St. Pete.

“This policy prevents people from starting to smoke,” said Qiana Cressman Vice President, Health Strategies with the American Heart Association.

“We’re hoping that this ordinance will eliminate some of that litter,” a citizen added. “I think it’s shocking when we sit back and think that some of the cigarette butts could take up to 150 years to degrade that’s horrific.”

The director of Florida Conservation for Ocean Conservancy says making this decision will have a positive impact on marine life and the environment.

Officials say they plan to enforce the ordinance over time, starting with signage.