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New Law Bans Smoking at California State Beaches and Parks

SACRAMENTO (AP/KPIX) -- California will ban smoking and vaping at state parks and beaches starting January 1, 2020, under a new law signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom.

The legislation also bans disposing cigar and cigarette waste at parks and beaches. Violations will be punishable by a fine of up to $25.

Newsom, a Democrat, announced Friday he had signed the bill into law.

It covers smoking traditional cigarettes as well as using electric smoking devices. Smoking will still be allowed in parking lots at beaches and parks. Film and television productions can still allow people to smoke on state property with the proper permits.

Democratic state Sen. Steve Glazer has been pushing such a ban for years, with lawmakers approving it several times. But former Gov. Jerry Brown, a fellow Democrat, repeatedly vetoed it.

"To ban it in the state in 98 percent of places, but yet have a designated smoking area seemed like a pretty good compromise," said Sen. Glazer. He hopes people can focus on the benefits.

California Assemblyman Wants To Ban Smoking At All State Beaches, Parks by CBS Los Angeles on YouTube

Glazer has argued such a rule will protect public health and curtail pollution.

California already prohibits smoking at child care centers, within 25 feet of farmers' markets, in government buildings and on public transportation. Cities and counties can also adopt their own smoking laws.

Parkgoers at Diablo State Park in Clayton were happy with the new law.

"I don't think there should be smoking in any environment such as this," said Chris Lambert, who was vising the park with his kids. "I live in the foothills of Clayton. Mt. Diablo os my back door step, so that would be pretty treacherous to have a fire up here."

Stacie Van Horn and her family were visiting from Brentwood - and she says she also agrees with the ban.

"I just love the fact that there won't be that around my children, and for the fire hazards that are in California, it just makes sense not to be smoking out here on public lands," she said.

But some take issue with the exceptions to the smoking ban that will allow people to light up in parking lots and paved roadways. They say the ban doesn't go far enough.

"The dry grass goes right up to the parking lot, goes right up to the pavement, so it's still too easy," said Tony Wilson.

A life-long Alamo resident, Wilson says he still doesn't think the ban goes far enough, but says it's at least a step in the right direction.

"Maybe tweak it here and there. There shouldn't be any smoking on the mountain. At all. Zero."

California has roughly 280 state parks and 340 miles of coastline.

A legislative analysis predicts it will cost the state parks system nearly $2 million to put up more than 5,000 signs alerting people to the ban and complying with various state regulations.

© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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