Despite support of beach cities and Legislature, Schwarzenegger vetoes smoking ban on state beaches

by Robin Yeager on 05/04/2010

in Environment, Ocean

If you spend any time on a beach, walking through cigarette butts until you reach the water’s edge is a definite downer. So is digging your feet into the sand and bringing up a stanky filter between your toes.

Many coastal communities have banned smoking on their beaches. With good reason. Smokers leave their butts in the sand, some of which end up in the ocean and are ingested by marine life.

In some locations, a lit cigarette increases the risk of fire + non-smokers shouldn’t have to move upwind to avoid the risk of second-hand smoke.

Unfortunately, our cigar-smoking governor ignored the support of more than 50 organizations and communities, the Senate and the Assembly and vetoed SB 4 yesterday.

Sen. Jenny Oropeza’s bill would have banned smoking on state beaches and in state parks and fined violators $100. The benefits of her bill are set forth on her website, including an EPA finding that cigarette butts are the most prevalent marine debris in the U.S.

For a list of SB4’s supporters, see the Long Beach Report , which also notes that Commonwealth Brands, the country’s 4th largest cigarette manufacturer, opposed the legislation.

Eliminating marine debris and protecting our health and safety should not be a partisan issue. Nonetheless, Project Vote Smart’s tally indicates only one Republican, former Sen. Abel Maldonado, voted for SB4. Maldonado was sworn in as Lt. Governor last month.


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