Kauai County Defers Smoking Bill

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.

Kauai Hawaii debates smoking ban on its beaches

Kauai Debates Smoking Ban on Its Beaches

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?

About Joe Sylvester

Aloha! I have lived on Kauai for 33 years where I have worked as an Agronomist for 17 years, owned an art gallery for 11 years and own a vacation rental for 17 years in the town of Poipu. I am a former Peace Corps volunteer and have been married since 1985.
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  1. NO NO NO, I don’t think Parks & Beaches should be smoke free. Smokers have rights too and smoking outside doesn’t effect the public. Putting a ban on smoking on the beach? What a joke, lets get real here, enough of the drama, its getting old. You really need to get a life and fight for a more worthy cause. Where does it end? How about putting a ban on all the fat people and bar them from sitting on the beach because the sight of them hurts my eyes? And will you include the pregnant women. What about all the too small bathing suits, thinking about protesting against them too? How about offensive perfume? That will be next, allergic to smells so now you can’t wear any perfume. Better yet, what about crooked teeth? Folks with bad breath? Are you thinking about handing out pamphlets of local orthodontists or samples of listerine. Or will you begin a protest to give them their own section of the beach to sit on with folks with bad breath just because you happen to find it offensive. Get a real life and “Live & Let Live”, ya know to each his own and MYOB, those small mannors that most children learn from their parents. There are too many other beautiful Islands the tourists can go to and enjoy a smoke on the beach during their vacation if Hawaii bans them. So don’t cut off tourists from coming here inspite of your face, bad for economy.

    • Aloha Pam, thank you for visiting our site and reading a blog post. In the last legislative session the smoking ban was killed not because the council thought it was a bad idea but because they did not know how they were going to enforce the law. It will come up again sometime in the future.

      If we see a ban in the future there will be smoking sections at the beach. An area will be roped off and there will be containers for the debris left over. History has shown Hawaii legislators that when smoking in bars was enacted and there were threats of an industry collapse, it just did not happen. Bar patrons complained at first but they came back to their favorite watering hole and that was the end of that.

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