It's still legal to smoke in your cab in Florida - kind of .

| 10/17/2003

Truckers who run in Florida have wondered, ever since the state banned virtually all smoking in the workplace, whether the occasional puff in the truck cab is still OK.

And, after careful research and consultation with experts about whether the practice is still legal, officials at the Florida Department of Health finally have an answer.

They can’t say. In fact, they don’t plan to.

“I don’t think we’re going to address that,” Donna Arnold, a program specialist at the state, said.

Arnold said she had posed the question to her department’s legal section and to the drafters of the anti-smoking amendment – including the American Heart Association, the American Lung Association and the American Cancer Society.

“They told me that was an issue that we knew was going to give us some problems,” she said. The groups told her “we tried to address it, and then decided we weren’t going to address it at all.”

The good news: That means for all practical purposes, truckers are – at least for now – able to continue to smoke in their cabs without any legal problems.

However, just about everywhere else truckers go - every restaurant, truckstop or repair shop – drivers still cannot light up.

The new regulations, approved by 71 percent of Florida voters in November 2002, call for a $100 fine for the first offense. Repeat puffers could burn up to $500 in fines, and penalties for businesses start at $250.

--by Mark H. Reddig, associate editor

Mark Reddig can be reached at