SARASOTA, Fla. (WFLA) — Days after a new Florida law allowing local governments to ban smoking on public beaches went into effect, leaders in the City of Sarasota discussed the issue at a public meeting.

Commissioners Tuesday directed the city’s attorney to prepare an ordinance for a public hearing at a later date. At large Commissioner Jen Ahearn-Koch said she wants to enact the ban “as swiftly as possible”.

“This is something that we have wanted to pursue for a long time. We are preempted and now we are not, so it is very exciting for us,” said Commissioner Ahearn-Koch.

If passed, it wouldn’t be the city’s first ban on public beach smoking. A similar local law was passed in 2008 when the city opted into the Sarasota County ordinance to ban smoking at public beaches. However, that ban was overturned in court in 2013.

Mayor Erik Arroyo says the city wants to “bring it back” sooner rather than later.

“We have some of the best beaches in the entire country. We have wildlife to protect there and it is one of our main drivers of tourism,” Mayor Arroyo said. “So we are protecting our environment, our wildlife, our tourism and our residents because no one wants to go to the beach and have to deal with all sorts of cigarettes on the floor.”

Year after year, cigarette butts top the list of the most common form of litter found on beaches across the globe. The cigarette butts may be small, but Ocean Conservancy says the microplastics they’re made of can take years to degrade and also end up inside fish, birds and other wildlife.

The vast majority of beachgoers on Lido Key were in support of a beach smoking ban, including some smokers.

“I’m sure it is probably pretty harmful to wildlife and that is not fair to them either,” said Ashley Price, who is a smoker. “It is my choice, it is not everybody else’s, it is not the environment’s choice, so I totally agree with it, no problem.”

“I am a non-smoker and I am definitely against smoking on the beaches. As you saw today when we walk back-and-forth to the beach, we are usually picking cigarette butts and trash. Keep it clean. It is a beautiful beach, white sand, let’s keep it that way,” city resident Philip Eagen said. “It’s not that hard to pick up your own trash, it really isn’t. I don’t know why people don’t do it more.”

A public hearing date for the city ordinance has not yet been scheduled.