The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department has followed up an earlier ban on smoking at most state park properties with this proposal, partly because the agency is worried that all those smokers pushed out of parks will come to the beach, reports the Associated Press.
The move would also serve to cut down on litter on the beaches and ensure consistent rules throughout the entire state parks system, an agency spokesman added.
According to the executive director of a nonprofit organization called SOLVE that collects trash on Oregon beaches, cigarette butts are the most prolific item.
“Most of the debris picked up by the volunteers consists of either small plastic items or cigarette butts, which both harm marine life in various ways,” she told the AP.
Those caught smoking could face a $110 fine under the proposed ban, though the department would rather educate visitors and save the heavy fines for the worst repeat offenders. Park rangers would be responsible for enforcing the ban, as they are for the February ban that only allows smoking inside vehicles or campsites when on state park property, or in specially designated areas in day-use parks.
Rangers have already started asking people to put out their cigarettes in state parks, but won’t start ticketing anyone until next year, the spokesperson adds.
Oregon moves to ban smoking along its Pacific coastline [Associated Press]