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Lawmakers Consider Smoking Ban in California's State Parks

Malibu Creek State Park (Photo by denisetaylor☼ via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr)
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California could soon be the first state to ban smoking in its state parks system, as the Assembly votes today on a bill that aims to to reduce litter, secondhand smoke, and wildfire threats, according to the Huffington Post.

The bill's author is state Sen. Jenny Oropeza (D) of Long Beach, a cancer survivor who has seen her bill pass the senate and has high hopes for its success in the Assembly; she also believes it will be approved by California's "health-conscious" Governor. If signed into law, the bill would butt out smoking in all 279 of California's state parks, though "campsites and parking areas will be exempted from the ban."

State Parks who cannot afford to erect signs indicating the ban will be exempt; it is not clear at this time which parks would need such an exemption. If caught smoking within the park, violators would be subject to a $100 fine. Oropeza also believes that the bill will save the state money in the long run by lessening the likelihood a cigarette would spark a costly wildfire. The bill faces opposition from the tobacco industry. Last year the California Department of Parks and Recreation also opposed the bill because of the cost to put up signs, however they now have no position on the issue.