E-cigarettes have long been touted as an alternative to cigarettes.
But e-cig users could soon have fewer places to smoke on Oahu.
A city councilman wants to expand the smoking ban, to include e-cigs.
For Oakwood Hirata and Chevys Ishikawa vaping or smoking e-cigarettes is a way for them to get away from traditional cigarettes.
“They’re not tobacco, they don’t have the smell or the carcinogens, they don’t have as much nicotine in them as traditional cigarettes,” said Hirata, Assistant Manager of The Vaping Section Hawaii.
“The whole reason why we changed to vaping is to get away from the whole traditional tobacco cigarettes,” said Ishikawa, manager of The Vaping Section Hawaii.
E-cigarettes have long been a controversial topic.
“The department of health came out with some evidence that e-cigarettes cause vapors that include carcinogens so when the state banned e-smoking from state buildings that was the clear signal.”
A clear signal that e-cigs needed to be banned in other places as well according to the city council member and that’s why he’s proposing a bill that would do just that.
Some of those banned places would include Oahu beaches, parks, bus stops and certain buildings, places where smoking traditional cigarettes are already off-limits.
“What we’re doing is changing the definition of smoking in the city ordinance so a smoking ban in essence would include e-cigarettes as well,” said Harimoto.
The current smoking ban on Oahu comes with a fine. First time violators face a fine of $100 the fine then doubles for a second violation and goes up to $500 for a 3rd. If the bill goes through e-cigarette users would face the same penalties.
“If we care about public health we need to also include e-smoking in the definition of regular smoking,” said Harimoto.
As for Hirata and others who oppose this proposed bill, they hope to sit down with the councilman and discuss their side as well.
“I would love to sit down with all of them and educate them and show them that this really is a healthier alternative to smoking and if this ban does go through people will go back to smoking and that’s what our shop tries to stop,” said Hirata.
No hearings have been set. Council member Harimoto says it should be on the next council meeting agenda on November 12.