As a non-smoker, there is nothing worse then enjoying a nice day at the beach, until a group of smokers set up camp right next to you. So when I read in the Honolulu Advertiser, that the Big Island may expand the smoking ban on all public beaches and recreation areas I was ecstatic.
Passed last year, the ban resulted from the action of a group of middle school students wanting to protect marine life from cigarette butts. The students had collected more than 2,000 butts from the Kahalu’u beach in just 30 minutes as part of a science project. As cited in the Advertiser, “Cigarette butts are the top polluters of Hawaii’s beaches”, Deborah Zysman, executive director of the Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Hawaii. Trash and cigarettes are major factors in keeping Hawaii’s beaches clean. As a tourist economy, keeping Hawaii’s beaches and waters clean needs to be a top state priority.
Kau Councilman, Bob Jacobson told the paper “the council received nearly 70 letters and messages supporting the ban, with only one opposing it”. If the bill is passed, it will be interesting to see if other islands follow. The bill would place fines at $100. The council is expected to take up the bill for a full-council vote on Feb. 21st.
As of 2014 smoking is also no longer allowed on beaches on Maui as well as all beaches and parks on Oahu.