New Bill Would Ban Cigarette Butts and Disposable Vapes in California

By Alice Sun
Alice Sun
Alice Sun
January 25, 2022Updated: January 27, 2022

A California lawmaker proposed a bill Jan. 25 to ban disposable electronic vapes and tobacco filters to protect public health and the environment.

Assemblywoman Luz Rivas (D-San Fernando Valley) introduced Assembly Bill 1690 at a virtual press conference alongside the bill’s co-authors, Assemblymembers Mark Stone (D-Monterey Bay) and Cottie Petrie-Norris (D-Irvine).

“For more than half a century, tobacco filters have caused a public and environmental health crisis,” Rivas said. “The Ocean Protection Council’s statewide microplastic strategy recommended that California prohibits the sale of single-use tobacco products including cigarette filters and electronic vapes. ”

Epoch Times Photo
California Legislators hold a press conference to introduce Assembly Bill 1690. (Screenshot)

If signed into law, AB 1690 would prohibit any person or entity from selling a cigarette with a single-use filter, a single-use electronic cigarette, a plastic device attached to tobacco, or a vaporizer device. Violators will be charged civil penalties of $500 per violation.

At the conference, Stone explained that cigarette filters don’t provide health benefits to smokers but provide a “marketing advantage” to cigarette companies.

“The tobacco industry added single-use filters to create the illusion of a healthy cigarette, despite filters providing no health benefits. This deceptive marketing ploy has worked for decades, resulting in non-biodegradable cigarette butts becoming the most ubiquitous type of litter collected in California,” Stone said.

Petrie-Norris likewise said that cigarette filters are a major source of litter, and that more single-use vape pens are being seen littered on beaches.

“Cigarette filters are one of the major sources of litter on beaches, oceans, and in waterways all around the world. As we are seeing now with the rise of single-use vape pens, it is no surprise that we’ve also begun to see them as well on our beaches and impacting our waterway, ” Petrie-Norris said.

Heidi Sanborn, founding director of the National Stewardship Action Council, an organization committed to reducing pollution, said at the conference that cigarette butts are made of plastic and cause pollution.

“[Cigarette butts] are mostly a type of cellulose acetate which is a plastic. Because they’re on fire, people throw them on the ground. They step on them, and they break this into microplastics which blend with these toxins and it gets into the stormwater,” Sanborn said.