City Council passes smoking ban bills for Honolulu parks, beaches, bus stops

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With nine ayes for the two laws banning smoking in more public areas, it was clear Wednesday morning that the city is aiming for a cleaner environment.

That stance was echoed by members of the community.

“Cigarette butts are the No. 1 most littered items on beaches and they aren’t just any litter. They are dangerous toxic litter that poison young children, fish, and other marine life that ingest them,” environmental advocate Suzanne Frazer said.

“I feel that residents and visitors alike should have their health protected from toxic second-hand smoke and the right to breathe clean air,” environmental advocate Dean Otsuki said.

But for others, that argument wasn’t strong enough.

“This smoking issue is all about people justifying their intolerance,” Makaha resident Jack de Feo said. “Everybody wants to tell others how to live.”

“It would appear that it has not much opposition at the City Council because no one on the City Council smokes. If this had to do with something the councilmember enjoyed themselves, perhaps I would ask would you still support it,” Hawaii Smokers Alliance Co-Chair Michael Zehner said.

Bills 25 and 28 will extend the city’s current smoking ban to include all city parks, beaches, and bus stops.

The existing smoking ban was passed in April, which includes Ala Moana, Sandy’s, and Waikiki Beaches, and Hanauma Bay.

Some question the lack of enforcement.

“It’s still not being followed through,” Honolulu resident Kimo Mansfield said. “You folks want to ban these things, but you don’t follow through with it.”

“I think these guys back here in blue are already overburdened, so I think your enforcement might be equal to that as far as that goes,” another person said.

But with a $100 fine for the first offense and double that if caught again within the same year, the city hopes the punishment will help to keep violations down.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell says the city’s legal team will review the bills and if they reach his desk, he does intend to sign them.

If that happens, no smoking signs would have to be posted when they take effect Jan. 1, 2014 and that could come with a $500,000 price tag.

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