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Mayor plans to hold beach signing for bills that expand smoking ban

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

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 take effect immediately.

Penalties range from $100 for a first violation to $500 for three or more violations.

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

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 contend 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.

Caldwell will be joined by council members 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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