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Mayor plans signing ceremony Sunday for smoking ban bills

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  • Jamm Aquino /

Mayor Kirk Caldwell will sign two bills Sunday that ban smoking at nearly 300 Honolulu parks and about 4,000 bus stops, his administration announced.

Honolulu City Council members unanimously passed bills 25 and 28 on July 10. The bans take effect Jan. 1, except for Waikiki Beach, Kapiolani Park and Sandy Beach, where they go into effect immediately. Penalties range from $100 for a first violation to $500 for three or more violations.

Supporters who spoke out at the city council meeting said the bills would help the environment and make public recreational spaces healthier for beach and park-users.

Opponents believe the bills encroach on people’s rights, and some have said they plan to exploit a loophole in the law that permits smoking in state waters along the shoreline. The bills were initially scheduled to take effect upon the mayor’s approval, but the Council pushed back the enforcement date to allow time for public education and for signs to be put up.

The Council earlier this year passed a bill banning smoking at eight major parks, including Kapiolani Park, Kuhio Beach and Sandy Beach. But city attorneys determined that language in the bill allowed the city to enforce the law at only one beach, the makai side of Ala Moana Beach Park, because it is owned by the city. The others are on state lands.

Bill 25, the parks bill approved Wednesday, eliminates that problem.

The bill signing will be held at 11 a.m. at Kuhio Beach on Kalakaua Avenue next to the Duke Kahanamoku statue.

Caldwell will be joined by councilmembers Ikaika Anderson and Ron Menor, who sponsored the bills, and advocates from the state Department of Health, Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii, Surfrider Foundation, Coalition for a Tobacco Free Hawaii, and the Beach Environmental Awareness Campaign Hawaii (BEACH).

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