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Gov. Brown Vetoes Ban On Public Smoking At Colleges

Photo caption:

Photo by Associated Press

"No Smoking" signs are posted on a campus, June 26, 2012.

Gov. Jerry Brown has vetoed plans to ban smoking and tobacco use on public university campuses in California.

The governor announced Monday that he took action on legislation that would have banned tobacco use on all 136 California State University and community college campuses. It would have prohibited chewing, dipping, smoking or vaping natural or synthetic tobacco products at the schools, which have about 2.5 million students and 100,000 staff and faculty.

The bill would have allowed school trustees and board members to decide whether to fine campus smokers up to $100. In a veto message, the Democratic governor noted that the schools' governing boards already have that authority "and are fully capable of setting smoking policies on their campuses."

RELATED: PolitiFact California: Big Tobacco Blowing Smoke In Claim About Proposition 56

The money would have gone to support education programs at the campus where the violation occurred. Supporters said the bill would have helped decrease the harmful effects of nicotine and secondhand smoke.

Brown also announced that he signed legislation allowing state inspectors to seize and destroy used cigarette stamps, which are affixed to cigarette packaging to show tobacco has been legally purchased. It comes in response to inspectors recently finding large collections intended for reuse.

Brown has not yet taken action on another bill that would ban tobacco and electronic cigarettes at state parks and beaches in an effort to protect the environment from cigarette butts and prevent wildfires. People caught violating the law would face fines of up to $250.

The governor earlier this year approved tougher tobacco regulations as part of a special legislative session on health care, including boosting the legal age to buy tobacco to 21 and extending existing regulations governing tobacco to electronic cigarettes.

Californians also will weigh another attempt to raise taxes on cigarettes and other tobacco products at the November ballot box. Proposition 56 would raise the per-pack tax on cigarettes by $2 and raise taxes on other tobacco and vaping products.

The tobacco industry has launched ads against the measure and is expected to spend heavily to try to defeat it.

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