Honolulu – A ban on smoking on all public beaches in Hawaii (HB 325) will be considered at a joint hearing before the Water and Land Committee and the Ocean, Marine Resources and Hawaiian Affairs Committee, Wednesday, January 22, 2014, at 9 a.m. in Room 325 at the State Capitol.
The Water and Land Committee is chaired by Representative Cindy Evans (North Kona, North Kohala, South Kohala). The Ocean, Marine Resources and Hawaiian Affairs Committee is chaired by Representative Faye Hanohano (Puna).
“I believe it’s time to look at the issue on a statewide level,” Evans said. “Last year, Mayor Caldwell signed into law an ordinance passed by the Honolulu City Council that banned smoking at public beaches. We need to preserve our quality of life and beaches are an integral part of that. Going to the beach is what we do.”
The city ordinance which prohibits smoking at all city parks, beaches, athletic fields and facilities, and bus stops took effect on January 1, 2014. Smoking has been illegal at Oahu’s Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve since 1993. The Honolulu City Council has also made it illegal to smoke within 20 feet of entrances to stores, restaurants, bars and other workplaces.
Representative Kaniela Ing (Kihei, Wailea, Makena) introduced the bill last year. At a recent beach clean-up on Maui, volunteers picked up over 14,000 cigarette butts in just two hours.
“In addition to the health risks to smokers and risks caused by second-hand smoke, cigarette butts are still the primary cause of litter in Hawaii,” said Ing. “Smoke-free beaches will preserve the aesthetics of our shoreline, promote the health of beach goers, and protect our delicate marine ecosystems.”
Hanohano believes that such a ban is in line with the Hawaiian philosophy to “malama i ka ‘aina,” to care for the land.
“Cigarette butts that litter beaches also finds its way into the oceans. The smoking ban would go far in keeping our precious, limited resources clean, and the beaches enjoyable for all,” she said.
If the bill passes the two committees, it then goes to the House Judiciary Committee, chaired by Rep. Karl Rhoads, for consideration and hearing.
The public can participate in legislative discussions and follow the progress of the bill by logging onto the House website at http://capitol.hawaii.gov/measure_indiv.aspx?billtype=HB&billnumber=325&year=2014