With the tenacity equal only to a starving dog with a bone. The Coalition for a Tobacco Free Hawaii pushes on in its efforts to make all parks and beaches in Kauai smoke free. Kauai members of Tobacco Free Hawaii offered facts on the dangers of first and second hand smoking. There was no opposition in the room to the scientific data brought forth. Everyone was in agreement on the health issues and the litter caused by discarded cigaret butts in the sand and the water.
Of note, there were two speakers opposed to the bill. A member of Open Spaces Kauai, who reserved her right to speak until the Council meets in fortnight, was concerned with the bill because it may exclude some people from enjoying Kauai proposed a designated smoking area at all parks and beaches. Only Ms. Valerie Saiki of Coalition for a Tobacco Free Hawaii was against any such compromise citing that designated smoking areas do not work.
The Council, most likely hoping for concession, deferred the Bill for two weeks. We would like to see a designated area at all parks for smoking. These spaces should be equipped with ashtrays, rubbish cans and at signage that states anyone under 18 years of age is prohibited. Brochures should be made available to smokers who wish to stop.
Update July 12, 2012- The County Council Wimps Out
Citing that the law would not be enforceable at the beaches and that the Police are already short staffed. The Kauai Council takes the easier path and votes 4 to 2 to send the bill back to committee for further discussion. It will now be back on the August 1 agenda with Parks and Recreation Department meets.
Another concern was that with a designated smoking area was that minors may have to walk through the smoking area to get to a different part of the park or beach. For me this is a lame excuse. Just set the smoking area in the least desirable area of the Park with signs for minors to stay away.
Failing to tackle tough issues is what the Council is elected to do. Using futility as an argument that passage of the bill will not make a difference because of increased costs. And may in fact increase jeopardy to minors that may inadvertently stroll through the smoking area is not tenable.
Using the ‘unacceptable costs’ position to enforce the bill is an argument that is easily deployed. However, the cost savings will be greater with this bill than monies spent enforcing the ban. Cleaner Parks and Kauai Beaches will reduce maintenance costs.
We currently have a bill in place now for the past 5 years where no one is supposed to smoke within 20 feet of an entrance to a commercial property. The Kauai Police does not enforce this rule they leave it to the management of the shopping center. For the most part smokers honor this rule. Sure there are exceptions, but smokers are aware of the societal pressures against smoking in public.
The bill has been kicked down the road but it is not dead.
Our Parks and beaches should be refuges of health and tranquility for residents and visitors. Tell us what you think? Should Parks and Beaches on Kauai be smoke free? Would you be happy just to see a designated smoking area where smokers could congregate?