New state law bans smoking on playgrounds, sets $100 fine
Sacramento -- California imposed more restrictions on smokers yesterday with a new law that bans smoking or dumping butts in playgrounds or tot lots.
Gov. Gray Davis signed a new state law that bans smoking on play grounds. Davis also called for more restrictions like banning smoking 15 to 25 feet around the play areas.In signing the law, Gov. Gray Davis cited the health risks of exposure to secondhand smoke and called for even more restrictions -- smoke-free zones of at least 15 to 25 feet around play areas.
"Such smoke-free barriers will create a reasonable distance to protect our children while allowing parents who smoke to remain close enough to monitor them while they play," he said.
The bill by Assemblyman Juan Vargas, D-San Diego, takes effect Jan. 1.
California already bans smoking in most workplaces including bars, restaurants and the public areas of hotels. Some cities ban smoking in public parks and near building entrances.
This bill makes it an infraction -- with a fine of $100 -- to smoke a cigarette, cigar, pipe or other tobacco-related product within the boundaries of a playground or a sandbox.
It's also a $100 fine to toss a cigarette or cigar butt in a playground.
A playground is defined as "any park or recreational area specifically designed to be used by children that has play equipment installed, or any similar facility located on public or private school grounds, or on city, county, or state park grounds."
The bill allows cities or counties to pass even more restrictive smoking ordinances for playgrounds if they wish.