Diary

Ban The Butts

A bill that would ban smoking at five Waikiki beach parks passed its second reading in the City Council Dec. 5.

Of 13 community members who gave testimony, eight were in support, with five opposed.

“There is no such thing as a Constitutional right to smoke,” said Maile Sakamoto of the Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Hawaiʻi. Lila Johnson of the Department of Health said Bill 72 would prevent the public from creating both secondhand smoke and litter in the form of cigarette butts, ingestion of which can harm pets, marine life and children.

Richard Fassler of Manoa brought a gallon-size bag of cigarette butts he had collected in a half hour on a stretch of beach about the size of the Council chamber. Louise Pacarro of Sustainable Coastlines said that she had picked up 1,700 cigarette butts in one hour at Kuhio Beach Park.

Critics said the bill wasn’t needed, and might discourage tourism. “Hundreds of millions in potential tourism revenue have been lost” through existing smoking bans, Kawika Crowley stated. But Alan Hong, former manager of Hanauma Bay, where smoking was banned in 2003, said the ban had not been a problem there.

“We already have an anti-littering law,” Natalie Iwasa testified. Others questioned whether such a bill could be enforced. Councilmember Stanley Chang, the bill’s introducer, said the results of bans in other places indicate that signage and “gentle reminders” are sufficient.

Of the nine councilmembers, seven voted yes while Tom Berg and Ikaika Anderson voted no. Bill 72 has to pass a third vote when the Council reconvenes in 2013.