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How Smokers Can Help Keep Clearwater Beach Beautiful Amid New Smoking Ban

| Staff Report |

Living in Tampa lets residents enjoy an excellent recreational activity: enjoying Clearwater’s long and beautiful beaches. Yet because these beaches are often overcrowded, it’s slowly succumbing to pollution—mostly from cigarettes. These do more than risk public health through secondhand smoke. Cigarette butts are among the top pollutants found on beaches and in the ocean. That’s why Clearwater’s City Council recently implemented a smoking ban: to keep its beaches free from litter. Even vaping is prohibited to prevent e-liquid from leaking and poisoning aquatic life.

Given this, smokers must follow the rules as responsible citizens. If you’re a smoker and frequent Clearwater beachgoer, here are some ways to keep the beach beautiful amid this new smoking ban:

Leave your cigarettes and vapes at home

A sure way to maintain Clearwater’s beauty is simply to not bring cigarettes and vapes with you when going to the beach. You can also leave them in your car. Just ensure your vehicle won’t overheat, as this is dangerous for electronic vaping devices—especially now that Florida is experiencing its hottest year on record.

Before leaving your house or car, empty your pockets and double-check your bags. If you’re going to the beach with people with similar smoking or vaping habits, have them do the same. That way, you won’t tempt one another to smoke or vape while you’re there.

Avoid smoking triggers

There’s usually an event or habit that triggers your cigarette cravings. For some, it may be taking a call, finishing a meal, or drinking coffee. Whatever it is—avoid it before going to the beach so you’re not tempted to purchase cigarettes.

Instead, distract yourself by walking along the shore or engaging in local activities like taking a Tiki Boat Tour or going on the Caladesi Island Kayak Adventure, where you can experience wading through the waters and spotting dolphins, manatees, and other aquatic animals. You can also lean on a non-smoking friend who can motivate and remind you to avoid triggers.

Bring food in place of cigarettes

While you’re at the beach, consider replacing your cigarettes with food to comply with the smoking ban. Nibbling on snacks like candy can keep your mouth busy, satisfying the physical and psychological cues you usually perform when smoking.

You can bring crunchy foods, like baby carrots, to give your mouth something to do. Drinking dairy products can leave a bitter aftertaste when using cigarettes, so you can try getting a milkshake from one of the restaurants on the boardwalk—like the frozen chocolate ones at Palm Pavilion Beachside Grill & Bar—to enjoy a treat and discourage you from smoking. Another option is to eat candies, especially those similar to your cigarette or vape flavors. This can mean mints if you use menthol cigarettes or one of Floridians’ favorite candies—Skittles—if you usually use flavored vapes. This fruit-flavored candy will replicate popular vape flavors like watermelon, cherry, and strawberry.

Switch to smokeless products

Finally, you can use smokeless products, like nicotine pouches and patches. These lack smoke and tobacco—helping you adhere to the rules—while providing you with a nicotine dose that can address your cigarette cravings.

Nicotine pouches are placed in the mouth for nicotine absorption and last for up to an hour. They are also much more affordable than a pack of cigarettes. The On! nicotine pouches at Prilla can be bought online for $3.49 a can and are especially ultra-compact and discreet, so people won’t notice you using them. Once done, you can use the tin to carry used pouches until you can properly dispose of them. This will prevent you from littering, as that’s the reason for Clearwater’s smoking ban in the first place. Another option is the nicotine patch, which sticks to the skin. The Nicorette nicotine patches are waterproof and can be worn for a full day. This means a single patch can consistently provide nicotine for your entire time at Clearwater without the need to change it.

Clearwater’s beauty is something that Tampa can be proud of, which is why people are doing their best to preserve it. As a smoker, follow the tips above to contribute to saving Clearwater’s beaches.

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