The Democratic governor of California rejected measures banning smoking and vaping at public parks and beaches, arguing is was an example of the “coercive power of government.”
Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed two bills Friday aimed at further restricting the use of tobacco and nicotine-based products such as electronic cigarettes. One of the proposed laws would have instituted fines of $100 for anyone caught using a cigarette or vaporizer in public parks or on California beaches, reports the Los Angeles Times.
Proponents of the aggressive measures said the bans are necessary to cut down on the hazards of secondhand smoke and reduce litter from cigarette butts, however Brown slammed the measures as government overreach into the lives of adults.
“If people can’t smoke even on a deserted beach, where can they?” Brown said in his veto memo, according to the Los Angeles Times. “There must be some limit to the coercive power of government.”
Many areas of the state have already instituted bans on smoking and vaping in public spaces, including San Diego County. The measures largely ignore the major differences between tobacco cigarettes and nicotine-based vapor products, including research showing vaping eliminates up to 95 percent of the harms associated with combustible tobacco because the majority of cancer causing chemicals are released through smoke.
The Tustin City Council voted Oct. 3 to criminalize the use of vapor products in all public parks in the city. The measure is part of a larger ban on smoking and other tobacco use in the outdoor spaces.
Localities across the country are passing ordinances that conflate vaping devices with traditional tobacco. Medical experts focused on harm reduction say misrepresentations of vaping, often driven by political interests, damage overall public health and risk costing smokers’ lives.
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