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California Legislature Considering Banning Single-Use Tobacco Products

Single-use tobacco products like cigarettes or vapes could become a thing of the past if some California lawmakers get their way. CapRadio's Ezra David Romero reports.

Cigarette butts top the list of the most littered items worldwide at more than 1.6 billion pounds. They're made of plastic and aren't readily biodegradable. That's why Santa Barbara Democratic Assemblymember Hannah-Beth Jackson introduced a bill to ban them and other single-use products in California.

"We've tried to do things like to prohibit smoking on beaches, but really there's never been a bill that addresses the problem from the actual design and manufacturing of the product."

Jackson says making producers responsible is the most effective way to reduce plastic waste. Her bill would result in $500 fines, but it does allow multi-use tobacco products like refillable vape pens as long they are readily recyclable.

The legislation will likely meet fierce opposition from the tobacco industry, but at its first committee no opposition was present. Requests for information from the industry were not immediately answered.

In Sacramento, I’m Ezra David Romero.

Ezra David Romero is an award-winning radio reporter and producer. His stories have run on Morning Edition, Morning Edition Saturday, Morning Edition Sunday, All Things Considered, Here & Now, The Salt, Latino USA, KQED, KALW, Harvest Public Radio, etc.