Bill seeks filtered cigarette ban to reduce litter
The problem is, there are scores of Native American smokeshops where a smoker might still be able to get filter-tipped cigarettes. Could the Ag border stations be expanded to prevent all illegal cigarettes from ever entering the state?[url=http://www.kcet.org/news/redefine/rewild/legislation/new-wildlife-protection-law-would-ban-the-butt.html]Chris Clarke KCET[/url] said:Citing the immense damage to wildlife and public health caused by discarded cigarette filters, a California legislator is seeking to ban sales of filter-tipped cigarettes in the state. Assembly Bill 1504, introduced this week by Monterey-area Assemblymember Mark Stone, would make it illegal to sell or give away filtered cigarettes in California, with a relatively stiff fine attached for each violation.... Worldwide, it's estimated that 845,000 tons of cigarette butts are improperly discarded each year, with something like three billion tossed aside just in the San Francisco Bay Area each year. And as most such filters aren't rapidly biodegradable, the butts pose a long-term threat to wild animals and small children who ingest them.
The bill would make it illegal to sell, give away, or order any cigarettes with "single-use" filters in the state, with fines of $500 for each violation. (A single violation is defined as up to 20 cigarettes, so that selling a pack or giving a stranger a single cigarette would both merit $500 fines.) If passed, though unlikely, the law would force smokers to use non-filtered cigarettes or carry around and use a reusable filter.
Though one might reasonably ask whether banning filtered cigarettes poses a risk to smokers, the consensus among public health scientists is that filters don't appreciably reduce the amount of tar, nicotine, or particulate matter that smokers inhale. American tobacco companies have been forbidden to suggest that filters reduce the risk of smoking since 2006.... But the filters persist on cigarettes, mainly because smokers think they're safer.
It'll be interesting to watch the reaction to the bill from the tobacco lobby. The three billion cigarette butts discarded yearly in the San Francisco Bay Area, after all, translate to more than a billion dollars in retail sales.