California continues to lead the country by example and is heading toward becoming a smoke- and vape-free state. Beginning Jan.1, 2020, smoking and vaping will be illegal on all state beaches and state parks in California. Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the new restrictions into law on Oct. 11.
State Sen. Steve Glazer, D-Orinda, and Assemblymember Marc Levine, D-Greenbrae, attempted to put this law into place previously, but former governor Jerry Brown vetoed it three times.
The new rules apply to tobacco smoking and vaping as well as marijuana. The public will be allowed to smoke or vape in the parking lots and roads outside of state parks and beaches.
Affected Monterey County locations where smoking and vaping will be prohibited include Zmudowski State Beach, Salinas River State Beach, Marina State Beach, Monterey State Beach, Asilomar State Beach, Carmel River State Beach, Point Lobos State Natural Reserve, Garrapata State Park, Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, Point Sur Lightstation and Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park.
The new law will require that the California Department of Parks and Recreation post roughly 5,600 signs indicating that smoking and vaping are not allowed. People who are caught smoking can also be fined up to $25.
California was the first state to enact a statewide smoking ban in 1995 as part of the California Tobacco Control Program, which started in 1989 by the California Department of Health. Since the tobacco program was established, more and more laws have been implemented in California that aim to reduce smoking in public places—and smoking at all. In 2016, the cost of cigarettes increased dramatically after California voters passed Proposition 56, which increased the tobacco tax by $2 per pack.
It is well understood that smoking cigarettes will cause cancer and other life-threatening illness, yet the research on vaping is not as solid. However, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, as of Oct, 8, there have been 1,299 reported lung injury cases associated with the use of e-cigarette or vaping products. Twenty-six deaths have been confirmed to the CDC in 21 states; reported illnesses are in 49 states.