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Smoking Ban at CA State Parks Gets Vetoed

Gov. Schwarzenegger vetoed a measure that would have banned smoking at CA state parks and beaches.

The measure crossed the line of government intrusion and Schwarzenegger's move to veto the bill came as a surprise to many who supported the legislation, the Associated Press reports.

As previously discussed, the bill was aimed at reducing cigarette waste, limiting exposure to secondhand smoke and preventing wildfires. If signed into law, it would have made California the first state to ban smoking throughout an entire park system.

However, Gov. Schwarzenegger said the bill went too far. Instead, he said the best way to discourage people from leaving cigarette butts at beaches and parks is to increase fines and penalties.

In addition, parks and local governments are already permitted to ban smoking on a case-by-case basis.

Tobacco manufacturers also have opposed the bill, claiming it infringes on the rights of smokers.

As previously discussed, if signed into the law the legislation would have imposed a $100 fine to violators caught smoking at CA state parks, hiking trails, or beaches. But under a legislative compromise however, campsites and parking areas would have been exempted from the ban.

The bill was originally introduced by State Sen. Jenny Oropeza (D-Long Beach), who was diagnosed with liver cancer in 2004 and is now living cancer free.

So far, about 100 cities prohibit smoking at beaches. Hawaii, New Hampshire, New Jersey and New York are considering similar smoking bans.

Maine is the only state to ban smoking at its state beaches.