Surfrider SLO has been counting cigarette butts from cleanups of local state beaches all year. Now that SB-836 “State beaches: smoking ban” and AB-1097 “State beaches and parks: smoking ban” are on the Governor’s desk, we’ve sent all the photos tagged with #Butts4Brown to the Governor, along with a small portion of the cigarette butts and the cover letter below.

Please add your voice by contacting the Governor to ask him to sign a beach smoking ban into law.

Dear Governor Brown,

Please sign into law a ban on smoking at state beaches (SB-836, AB-1097).

Surfrider’s Hold On To Your Butt (HOTYB) program works to raise awareness about the environmental impact of cigarette butt litter on our oceans, waves and beaches, and to help eliminate cigarette butt litter. Cigarette butts are the #1 item collected at our beach cleanups. They contain plastic and can take up to 25 years to degrade. Fish, birds and marine mammals mistake butts for food, ingesting harmful chemicals. The toxins bioaccumulate up the food chain, so the fish Californians eat may be contaminated with chemicals from cigarettes.

When you vetoed similar bills last year, you stated, “If people can’t even smoke on a deserted beach, where can they?” Perhaps you haven’t visited a state beach in a long time – most are busy and popular, not deserted. Many people smoke at our state beaches and see all that sand as a giant ashtray. California’s beautiful beaches are studded with cigarette butts.

This year, we want to help you understand the magnitude of the problem, and the significant positive impact a ban would have on the health of California residents, our beaches and ocean. Enclosed are photos of butts collected at cleanups of state beaches in San Luis Obispo County, along with a small number of those butts.

On Coastal Cleanup Day last year, volunteers collected about 15,000 butts in San Luis Obispo County in just three hours. The numbers become staggeringly high when the rest of the state is added in, and yet only a fraction of discarded butts are cleaned up. This problem would be easier to address at the source – by banning smoking at state beaches – than reactively through volunteer beach cleanups.

Please do the right thing and sign a smoking ban into law.


Cynthia Replogle, HOTYB Program Coordinator, Surfrider San Luis Obispo