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Smoke away… In October 2017 Governor Jerry Brown vetoed bills that would have banned smoking at California state beaches and state parks. He said “If people can’t smoke even on a deserted beach, where can they? There must be some limit to the coercive power of government.” The governor also felt that the fines plus possible court costs were excessive (reaching almost $500 for an offense).

The bills were proposed to minimize the potential for second hand smoke from tobacco, e-cigarettes, and even marijuana. Other reasons included the obvious problems with cigarette butts littering our state beaches and even the risk of wildfires from foolish souls tossing butts and ashes. All of these reasons are valid and we are sure the debate will continue.

While it is easy to understand Brown’s explanation, we hope that visitors to California’s beaches will pick up after themselves and avoid smoking near others even though this bill was vetoed. We all need to be responsible stewards of our public beaches and parks.

Note that smoking may still be prohibited at county and city beaches. Find your beach in California and then check the rules and regulations. We link each beach page to the local jurisdiction when possible.

Photo courtesy of Art MD