Smoking would be banned at California parks and beaches as a health and wildfire risk under legislation approved Tuesday by the state Senate.
Sen. Marty Block (D-San Diego) introduced SB 1333, which would make smoking and disposing of tobacco waste an infraction subject to a fine of up to $250.
“Cigarettes are non-biodegradable and contain over 164 toxic chemicals,” Block told his colleagues. “They cause a substantial trash issue and health problems at our beaches and parks.”
He also noted second-hand smoke is a health risk to nonsmokers. The bill applies to electronic cigarettes and medical marijuana as well as combustible cigarettes. Block said that the tossing of lighted cigarettes has caused many wildfires. “If this measure prevents just one wildfire, it will save millions” of dollars, he said, as wildfires can cost as much as $3 million each.
The action comes just weeks after Gov. Jerry Brown approved a package of other anti-tobacco bills, including one that raises the smoking age in California from 18 to 21.
Officials estimate it will cost up to $1.1 million to install 20 signs at each of the state’s 280 parks and state beaches.
The bill is supported by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, the American Lung Association in California and Sierra Club California.
The vote was 25 to 11 to approve the bill and send it to the Assembly.