Move to Block Florida Smoking Ban Snuffed Out

April 1, 2002 ( - Smoking in Floridian workplaces would be illegal under a proposed constitutional amendment approved unanimously by the state Supreme Court last week.

Smoking is already banned by Florida law in all places of employment in common areas expected to be used by the public.  If approved, the amendment would prohibit smoking in most indoor workplaces, but would exempt:

  • private residences unless they are being used for child-care, adult care or health care
  • retail tobacco shops
  • designated smoking guest rooms at hotels and other public lodging facilities
  • stand-alone bars are also exempt.

Restaurant Restriction

Lawyers for the tobacco industry and the Florida Restaurant Association have opposed the measure – and claimed that the title and summary on the petition were misleading because the definition of ‘enclosed indoor workplace’ did not indicate that smoking would be prohibited all together in restaurants.  However, the Florida Supreme Court dismissed that argument, noting that ‘most Floridians understand that restaurants are also workplaces.’

Those supporting the referendum must still collect enough signatures to put the measure on the ballot November 5 – a goal that seems well within reach, based on the totals reported to date.

Under Florida law, the state Supreme Court must review proposed constitutional amendments to ensure that they deal with only a single subject and that the ballot language and summary accurately reflect the amendment’s impact.