California legislators introduced a bill on Tuesday that would prohibit the sale of single-use tobacco products in an effort to reduce the state’s environmental pollution problems.
“I want to be really clear. This legislation does not prohibit the selling of tobacco or marijuana in the state of California. According to Assembly Member Luz Rivas, D-San Fernando Valley, “that is not the purpose of this bill.”
As the author of Assembly Bill 1690, which, if signed into law, would prohibit the sale of single-use vapes and tobacco filters, which are contained in the majority of cigarettes and cigars, Rivas is an advocate for the tobacco industry.
Local authorities will be in charge of enforcing the law, and those who violate it might face civil penalties of up to $500.
Members of the legislature asserted that single-use items are detrimental to the environment, citing that cigarette litter causes governmental agencies in the state to spend $41 million per year on cleanup.
“The smokers: They smoke and chuck their cigarettes.” They run the danger of a $1,000 fine if they flick a cigarette out of a moving vehicle, throw it on the beach, or put it anyplace else into the environment, and that isn’t a deterrent at all,” said Assembly Member Mark Stone, D-Monterey Bay, in an interview.
The legislation is modeled after a similar initiative currently happening in New York, which California politicians hope will be beneficial to their cause.
In a statement, Rivas said, “We will be working together to ensure that our states remain healthy and clean, as well as sending a message throughout the country that this year is the year to put the single-use ban in place.”
In addition, officials stated that they do not yet know when the legislation will take effect if it is passed and that they intend to consult with stakeholders as the legislation develops.
Several representatives from the Altria Group, which is one of the world’s leading manufacturers and marketers of tobacco products, have stated that they are now examining the legislation.