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Home » Cigar News

California Smoking Ban

Submitted by Rob on May 6, 2010 – 3:00 amNo Comment

It appears that cigar aficionados may still enjoy a fine smoke while visiting one of the many beautiful beaches in the state of California.

Sen. Jenny Oropeza, D-Long Beach, had argued her bill would help combat the “threat of wildfires and second-hand smoke” in all state parks. However the cigar smoking Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed legislation this past Monday (May 3, 2010). In a letter to the Members of the California State Senate Schwarzenegger states:

First, I believe this bill is an improper intrusion of government into people’s lives. I have supported laws in the past that tackle the problem of smoking indoors and smoking in cars with children. But, by mandating in state law that people may not smoke outdoors in certain areas, this bill crosses an important threshold between state power and command and local decision-making. There is something inherently uncomfortable about the idea of the state encroaching in such a broad manner on the people of California.

Current law already allows discretion by local governments and the Department of Parks and Recreation (Department) to ban smoking in parks and beaches under certain circumstances. The Department has exercised its authority throughout the state and has already banned smoking in several areas where fire hazards exist. Additionally, cities and counties throughout the state have appropriately exercised their authority and banned smoking in many parks under their jurisdiction. I think this is a discretionary decision that is best left with the Department and local government.

With respect to marine debris, I understand the challenge cigarette butts cause to our beaches and marine life. But, this bill applies the ban solely to those beaches and parks owned and operated by the state of California. When considering the contiguous nature of state-owned and locally-owned beaches, the purpose of the bill is undermined if the difference between legal activity and illegal activity is literally a line in the sand. As we have seen, marine debris and litter know no boundaries. I believe a more appropriate response is to increase the fines and penalties already in law for littering in our parks and on our beaches.

For these reasons I am unable to sign this bill.

Read the letter in full here.

At this current time it appears that there is not enough votes to override Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger veto leaving the bill dead in the water. Had the Bill passed California would have been the first state to ban all smoking in all of the state park system.

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