Enjoy California’s Smoke-free Parks and Beaches

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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.

In addition to the dangers of toxic secondhand smoke, many cigarette butts are left behind in parks and on beaches, posing a threat to children, wildlife and the environment.1 In fact, more cigarette butts are collected than any other type of litter including plastic straws!2

Thankfully, more and more of these lands are protected. California law bans smoking or vaping at playgrounds, tot lot sandbox areas, and youth sporting events in public parks to protect children from secondhand smoke and aerosol. This state law also bans the disposal of cigarette butts or other tobacco-related waste within 25 feet of playgrounds or tot lot sandbox areas.3

And, a growing number of cities and counties have created completely smoke-free outdoor spaces. More than 60 cities along the California coast have designated their local beaches as smokefree,4 and more than 200 cities and counties have established smokefree park laws5.  But, there is still a lot of room for improvement to be made locally, and smoking is still allowed in national parks and California state beaches and parks.

You can find out where your local smokefree parks and beaches are:

Smoke-free Parks

Smokefree Beaches

If your local outdoor spaces aren’t smokefree, talk to your local community leaders about considering a new policy. You can start by visiting SecondhandDangers.org for tips on how to address the issue.

References renameme

  1. Novotny TE, Lum K, Smith E, Wang V, Barnes R. Cigarettes butts and the case for an environmental policy on hazardous cigarette waste. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2009;6(5):1691-705.
  2. Ocean Conservancy. Building a clean swell. 2018. Accessed December 14, 2018.
  3. Health and Safety Code Section 104495
  4. American Nonsmokers' Rights Foundation. Municipalities with Smokefree Beach Laws. 2017.
  5. American Nonsmokers' Rights Foundation. Municipalities with Smokefree Park Laws. 2017.