Levine Measure to Ban Smoking at State Parks and Beaches Approved by State Assembly

Thursday, May 23, 2019

(SACRAMENTO, CA) – Legislation by Assemblymember Marc Levine (D- Marin County) to ban smoking at California state parks and beaches was approved today by the State Assembly. AB 1718 was approved on a bipartisan vote of 56 to 18.

AB 1718 is similar to legislation authored by Assemblymember Levine in 2018, which would have banned smoking at designated picnic areas on state beaches and state parks. That bill was approved by the Legislature with bipartisan support, but was vetoed by former Governor Jerry Brown.  

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 danger to the health of California’s people, land and water,” said Assemblymember Levine. “Just as California banned smoking at indoor venues decades ago, it is time that visitors enjoying our state beaches and state parks be protected from the harm caused by smoking. We have waited long enough to protect the Golden State’s public health and natural environment. The time to act is now.”

In addition to the public health and environmental damage caused by tobacco products, discarded cigarette butts accounted for 37.7 percent, or 6.9 million cigarette 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 30 percent of fire deaths in the United States.

AB 1718 now heads to the State Senate for further consideration.

Assemblymember Marc Levine represents California’s 10th Assembly District, which includes Marin and southern Sonoma Counties.

Connect with Assemblymember Levine on social media: @AsmMarcLevine.

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