Cigar Aficionado

Schwarzenegger Vetoes Parks, Beaches Smoking Ban

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Monday rejected a bill that called for a ban on smoking in the state's parks and beaches, saying it intruded on local decision making.

"There is something inherently uncomfortable about the idea of the state encroaching in such a broad manner on the people of California," wrote Schwarzenegger in a one-page veto message. "This bill crosses an important threshold between state power … and local decision-making."

The bill sought to ban smoking in all state parks and beaches, exempting only campsites and specified parking areas. In addition, violators could have been fined up to $100.

Supporters of the bill argued the beach smoking ban would have helped to curb the toxic effects of cigarette butts on ocean life, but Schwarzenneger disagreed.

"With respect to marine debris, I understand the challenge cigarette butts cause to our beaches and marine life," wrote Schwarzenegger. "But, this bill applies the ban solely to those beaches and parks owned and operated by the state of California ... As we have seen, marine debris and litter know no boundaries."

Schwarzenegger, who has appeared twice on the cover of Cigar Aficionado (the last time in August 2003), also pointed out in his veto remarks that the state Department of Parks and Recreation has the ability to impart smoking bans under certain circumstances.