In an attempt to combat increasing cigarette butts and vape waste, California legislators introduced a bill that would ban single-use tobacco products. The law would affect cigarettes with single-use filters and single-use tobacco vape products.
Assembly Bill 1690, the Stop Tobacco Access to Kids Enforcement Act, prohibits the giving or selling of a single-use filter or an attachable single-use plastic filter for a tobacco product or a single-use electronic cigarette or vaporizer device. The bill would also ban the giving or selling single-use filters or single-use vape pens from out of state to a California address.
Under the bill, civil penalties would be assessed against any “person, firm, or corporation that sells, gives, or furnishes specified tobacco and cigarette-related items, including cigarette papers…” to anyone under 21 years of age. The penalties range from $400-$600 for the first violation and up to $5,000-$6,000 for the fifth violation within five years.
Banning nicotine or cannabis isn’t the intent of the bill. The build-up of waste – filters and vape pens, specifically – concerns the bill’s author, Assemblymember Luz Rivas.
“I want to be clear. This bill is not banning the sale of tobacco or marijuana in California,” said Rivas
Local law enforcement would be responsible for implementing the law. A city attorney, county counsel, or district attorney would be authorized to assess civil fines against any person determined to have violated any of the prohibitions.
Proponents of the bill are emphasizing the attack on environmental issues. California public agencies estimate they spend $41 million a year cleaning up cigarette filters, vapes, and other single-use items.
Bill co-author Assemblymember Mark Stone supports the attempts to reduce ecological threats. He’s dissatisfied with current penalties for smoking-related littering.
“[Smokers] risk a $1,000 fine by flicking a cigarette out of a vehicle, or throwing it on the beach, or out into the environment anywhere, and that’s not a deterrent at all,” said Stone.
New York state is undertaking a similar proposal. The “Tobacco Product Waste Reduction Act” introduced by New York State Senator Liz Krueger and Assemblymember Judy Griffin would ban the sales of similar single-use tobacco products. Industry analysts caution that governments will need to stay vigilant against new tobacco products, introduced in the bill’s aftermath, that work around the single-use model that has become so commonplace.