(Sacramento)- AB 725 authored by Assemblymember Marc Levine (D-Marin County) passed out of the Assembly Water, Parks, and Wildlife Committee on Tuesday. The bill prohibits individuals from smoking on California’s state beaches and state parks.
California’s diverse environment and ecosystems sets it apart from many other states. Park visitors come from around the world to enjoy California’s natural resources and protected land. Unfortunately it is common to find cigarette butts discarded on beaches or around popular areas in state parks. In fact, cigarettes are the most common form of litter, and are improperly disposed of 65 percent of the time.
Cigarettes contain thousands of chemicals, approximately fifty of which are known carcinogens. Not only do they leech these substances into the ground or water, but animals may confuse them with food, poisoning or choking them.
“Smoking is a dangerous habit that results in cancer and pollution. We have a duty to protect Californians visiting our parks and beaches to protect public health and our environment,” said Assemblymember Marc Levine.
“AB 725 works upon the important steps the legislature took in 2016 to curb smoking,” said Jennie Cook, past national and state chair of the American Cancer Society. “This bill will protect individuals who want to enjoy California’s state parks and beaches without compromising their health through exposure to secondhand smoke.”
In addition to the public health and environmental problems with cigarettes, discarded butts accounted for 37.7 percent, or 6.9 million butts, of all litter collected on annual Coastal Cleanup Day from 1989-2014. Cigarettes are also a primary cause of wildfires, annually causing nearly $7 billion in damage, and accounting for thirty percent of fire deaths in the United States.
AB 725 will next be heard in Assembly Appropriations Committee.
Assemblymember Marc Levine represents the 10th Assembly District, which includes Marin and Sonoma Counties.