The days of lighting up a cigarette on the sand have gone up in flames. Smoking is officially banned from several Honolulu beach parks and recreational parks after the mayor signed it into law.

This means no smoking allowed at Duke Paoa Kahanamoku Beach Park, Kapiolani Beach Park, Kapiolani Park Beach Center, Kapiolani Park, Kuhio Beach Park, Sandy Beach Park and beach areas of Ala Moana Regional Park. Break the law, however, and violators will end up paying a lot per puff. Fines run up to $100 for the first offense, $200 for the second violation within a year and $500 for additional offenses.

I’m glad to see the bill’s passage into law. Who doesn’t want clean air and clean beaches? Cigarette butts are the number one cause of litter in the islands. You’d be surprised at how many butts you would find at the beach, and I’m not talking about the tanned tooshie kind either. Those, we like.

The ban on smoking at those seven Oahu beaches is a good start. We need to expand this measure to include all beaches, on all islands. Lawmakers are actually working on that, but it will be some time before this takes affect or even passes into law.

The city and state would have to team up, and to be fair to smokers, there should be some kind of compromise. Under the current law, smokers can go to the sidewalks to smoke; just not on the sand. This should also be included in the broadened law. Of course, this won’t put out heated debate sparked by the new law. It will, however, help to free up our beaches of litter and our air of pollution.

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