Finally! A bill that could keep cigarette butts away from Hawaii beaches. Although Bill 72 goes for its first reading tomorrow, those who enjoy clean air (who doesn’t?) predict it will pass and therefore, take immediate effect.

The bill could prohibit smoking from the following Oahu parks and beaches:

  • Duke Paoa Kahanamoku Beach Park
  • Kapiolani Beach Park
  • Kapiolani Park Beach Center
  • Kapiolani Park
  • Kuhio Beach Park
  • Sandy Beach Park
  • Sand areas at Ala Moana Regional Park

This wouldn’t be a completely drastic change for Oahu. Currently, smoking is prohibited at the Honolulu Zoo, Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve, Koko Crater Botanical Garden and the Waikiki Shell. Luckily for smokers, there’s a built-in compromise. Should Bill 72 pass, smoking will still be allowed on nearby sidewalks. I could be wrong, but after researching, I don’t believe any of the other Hawaiian Islands ban smoking from their beaches.

We all know that cigarettes pose health risks to smokers and to those nearby. Secondhand smoke can cause lung cancer, breast cancer, nasal sinus cancer, respiratory tract infections and heart disease. Sadly, my grandmother was a victim of secondhand smoke. She passed away from lung cancer, even though she didn’t smoke a day in her life. Her co-worker of 30 years, however, smoked all day, everyday in their tiny enclosed office space (before the indoor smoking ban).

If you couldn’t already guess, I’m as non-smoker as they come. I can’t stand when I’m cruising on the beach (or anywhere, for that matter) and then get a sudden whiff of cigarette smoke. It’s disgusting and invasive.

And it’s also the number one cause of litter in Hawaii and throughout the world. Whenever I do beach clean-ups, cigarette butts are the most common pieces of trash we find buried in the sand or floating in the ocean. I don’t understand why it’s so difficult to just throw it in a trash can? Don’t people know that their trash will end up in our ocean, harming the environment and marine animals?

Hoping the bill passes, at least for our lungs’ sake!


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