City beach smoking ban likely to become law

Mayor Caldwell says he will sign bill if it passes a legal review

 UPDATED 8:11 PM HST Mar 30, 2013
HONOLULU -

A smoking ban at some of Oahu's most popular beaches will likely become law.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell said he will sign the bill if it passes a legal review.

A bill outlaws smoking at Duke Paoa Kahanamoku Beach Park, all of Kapiolani Park, Kuhio Beach Park, Sandy Beach Park and all sandy areas of Ala Moana Regional Park.

"When I was in the House of Representatives as majority leader, I put in a bill called No Butts on the Beach," said Caldwell. "Unfortunately, it didn't make it out of the House. I'm glad to see the City Council has the guts, the bravery and I think the foresight to move a bill like this."

This bill is good news for people like Kaneohe resident Norman Soderberg and his family.

"When people smoke and they leave their cigarettes butts everywhere and my kids find these butts everywhere, that's what irritates me," said Soderberg.

Kaneohe resident Boyd Ramos said, "(Sandy Beach Park is) supposed to be a family beach and when people smoke they usually end up throwing their butts on the beach and it's not good. Being Hawaiian, I like to preserve the land."

While many are happy about this possible new law, others are fuming over the ban.

"I think it's a freedom (issue), said Kaneohe resident Randy Kapu. "They have nowhere, they already have limited areas to smoke. This is Sandy Beach, it's for everybody."

Kahaluu resident Hale Spencer said, "Where else (are) they going to go? It's far from everybody."

Not far enough if Mayor Caldwell gets his way.

"I really would like to see it expanded and applied to all our beach parks around the island," Caldwell said. "I think it's an environmental problem. We don't want to use our beaches as ashtrays."

If the smoking ban becomes law, Honolulu police said the fine could reach up to $50.

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