- Associated Press - Friday, April 22, 2016

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - Smoking is now banned in 65 East Bay regional parks, the latest tobacco crackdown by a San Francisco Bay Area recreation agency.

The East Bay Times reports (https://bit.ly/1QscAP8 ) Friday that the move by the East Bay Regional Park District will help keep air clean and beaches, bays and wild lands free of butts that can harm fish and animals.

The district previously allowed smoking in parks with few restrictions such as a ban on high fire risk days, the newspaper reported. Smoking will still be allowed in overnight campgrounds.

The new rule also makes it illegal to smoke medical marijuana anywhere in parks. Previously it was allowed in some areas. Parks spokeswoman Carolyn Jones says violators will be given verbal warnings during an initial, undetermined grace period.

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