As Californians, we have some of the most beautiful natural landscapes on the planet, and it’s easy to enjoy the outdoors at a local park or beach year-round.
Now, more of these scenic places are protected from the dangers of toxic secondhand smoke and the harm of tobacco-product pollution. Thanks to the passage of Senate Bill 81 in October 2019, smoking and vaping is prohibited in most areas in California state parks and beaches. Following the installation of signage, people can be fined for leaving tobacco waste in state parks, unless disposed of in an appropriate waste receptacle.
This bill expands existing state tobacco protections, which restricts smoking or vaping at playgrounds, tot lot sandbox areas, and youth sporting events in public parks to protect children from secondhand smoke and vape. Existing state law also restricts the disposal of cigarette butts or other tobacco waste within 25 feet of playgrounds or tot lot sandbox areas.2
These are important laws for our communities for a number of reasons:
Local leadership on creating smokefree spaces
The State of California is following on the leadership of a growing number of cities and counties that have created completely smokefree outdoor spaces. More than 60 cities along the California coast have designated their local beaches as smokefree,3 and more than 200 cities and counties have established smokefree park laws.9
Still working toward a smokefree future
There is still a lot of room for improvement to be made at local, state and federal levels. Did you know that smoking and vaping is still allowed in national parks? If your local outdoor spaces aren’t smokefree, let your local community leaders know you’re concerned. You can start by visiting SecondhandDangers.org for tips on how to address the issue.
Lung health is important now more than ever. Smoke and vape free spaces are key when protecting your lungs. You can also reach out to your local department of public health for ways you can continue to keep big tobacco from polluting our environment.
You can find out where your local smokefree parks and beaches are: