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California Governor vetoes vaping ban bill, and he’s a Democrat

It’s easy to assume that all Democrats are automatically opposed to vaping, but California Governor Jerry Brown just made headlines for vetoing a proposed ban on smoking and e-cigs in state parks and beaches.  Supporters of bill SB 386 include such politically connected groups as the American Lung Association, the American Cancer Society, the March of Dimes organization, and even the California Fire Chiefs Association.  Yet Gov. Brown firmly held his ground.

The bill would have imposed a very hefty $100 fine for violators, but the California politicians says that would rise to nearly five times that amount with additional fees for court costs.  $500 for smoking or vaping on the beach is simply too high a price, even for Jerry Brown.

“If people can’t even smoke on a deserted beach, where can they?” Brown stated in his veto message. “There must be some limit to the coercive power of government.”

But California is a long way from becoming a vapers paradise.  Just last year, lawmakers raised the legal smoking and vaping age to 21, and voters approved a tax increase of $2 per pack on tobacco products.  Meanwhile, the City of San Francisco is still trying to implement a total ban on the sales of flavored vape products citywide.  Still, perhaps it’s time that the vaping community should at least applaud this latest acknowledgement by a west coast Democratic politician that anti-vaping legislations is perhaps going way too far.

Was Gov. Brown seeking political revenge against the bill’s author?

Not all vapers are Republicans.  Lots of Democrats both smoke and vape.  Was this the reason behind the governor’s vetoes?  Or was something more diabolical play?

Another Democrat – state senator Steve Glazer of Orinda – is the author of bill SB 386, and the Ventura County Star suggests that there may be some bad blood between the two politicians.  Last April, Gov. Brown wanted to implement a 12-cent per gallon tax increase on gasoline statewide, but Glazer refused to endorse for the legislation. 

The driving force behind the proposed ban seems to be the nasty cigarette butts that seems to always lie everywhere on the California beaches.  Maine has a similar ban already in place with a fine of $100 per violation, and Republican Governor Chris Christy of New Jersey signed similar legislations with a $250 fine for the first offense. 

In fact, Gov. Brown also vetoed AB 725, a bill similar to Glazer’s but with fines beginning at $250 just like New Jersey’s Christy.  So, the notion that California’s Brown would follow this political trend and sign at least one of the bills into legislation did not seem so farfetched.  Brown vetoed both, and the California vaping community applauds him for it.


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