HARTFORD, CT —A bill that would ban smoking and vaping on beaches at Connecticut state parks easily passed the Environment Committee 25-4 on Monday.
The bill now heads to the House and the Senate for possible further action.
The bill has the strong support from the American Lung Association in Connecticut, which submitted written testimony in support.
“Prohibiting tobacco use in public spaces can help to address the negative impacts of secondhand smoke, a leading contributor to environmental litter as well as the progress we’ve made around social norms of smoking/tobacco use,” Ruth Canovi, director of Public Policy for the American Lung Association, said.
“Efforts to remove these pollutants from the environment where children and families play and enjoy the outdoors just make good sense,” Canovi added. “Because their lungs are so much smaller, children breathe in much more air pollution than an adult. They are more susceptible to the dangers of secondhand smoke – even outdoors.”
Canovi said that more than 300 municipalities in the country that have implemented smoke‐ free policies on beaches.
“We’d like to see Connecticut be taking even bolder action when it comes to tobacco prevention but this is a step in the right direction,” Bryte Johnson, director of governmental relations for American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), said.
“Beaches are where a lot of kids go and they don’t need to be exposed to cigarettes and vaping,” Johnson added.
Both Johnson and Canovi said another benefit of banning cigarettes from state beaches is beyond the public health benefits of tobacco free policies, implementation also reduces the most common form of litter – cigarette butts.
“Cleaner, greener parks, fields and trails are something that we should all be able to support,” said Canovi.
Added Johnson: “The cleaning cost involved for picking up the ridiculous amount of trash on beaches caused by cigarette butts is unreal.”