SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A Monterey assemblyman wants to ban all cigarette butts in the state of California, because of the environmental risk they pose to the state’s wildlife and fish.
Assemblyman Mark Stone (D) says he’s not only trying to be a trailblazer in California, but would also like to see butts banned across the country.
“This is what birds eat, fish eat, and again plastics are a good absorber of toxins,” he said, holding a jar of water he says was skimmed from the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
He says the plastic in cigarette butts is killing wild and marine life along the California coastline and around the globe.
According to a study highlighted in his bill, 845,000 tons of cigarette butts end up as litter, with some making its way into rivers, streams and beaches.
“Smokers inconvenienced are maybe going to have to change their habits a little bit,” he said.
But how do you change the habits of millions of smokers who call California home, and those who visit?
“I’m not even talking about anti-smoking,” he said. “What I’m worried about are those little plastic filters that get everywhere.”
With a tobacco industry boasting an endless stream of cash, lobbyists and lawyers, it could be an uphill battle.
But Stone says it’s about starting the conversation.
“If we hadn’t done something as striking as this, then nobody is going to be talking about it, and there’s no motivation to make changes,” he said.