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News Summary

California Governor vetoes statewide ban on smoking in beaches

Publication Date: 2010-05-05
  • Author:Carissa Beatty

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has vetoed S.B. 4, a proposed ban on smoking in state beaches and parks, the L.A. Times reported today. Schwarzenegger viewed the statewide smoke-free policy as "an improper intrusion of government into people's lives," and as state interference in a local matter that he believes should be decided by city and park authorities.

In his veto, Schwarzenegger mentions a lack of regulation on locally-owned beaches as a reason not to sign the bill. In fact, the effects of this policy would spread farther than just the parks and beaches that are directly involved. Advocates of the bill maintain that the policy would reduce the risk of wildfires, protect marine wildlife, decrease the amount of unsightly litter on beaches, and reduce secondhand smoke exposure.

The data on cigarette litter are staggering. Each year, 250 billion cigarette butts are littered in the U.S. Cigarette filters do not biodegrade quickly, and the hundreds of cancer-causing chemicals cigarettes can harm fish and other wildlife. The Ocean Conservancy reports that tobacco products and packaging were the most common types of litter, comprising 37% of marine debris in North America in 2009. Local governments in California spend millions of dollars each year on cigarette litter removal. An audit by the City of San Francisco revealed that the city spends $6,098,969 each year to clean up cigarette litter

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