Proposed smoking ban in parks sparks controversy - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Proposed smoking ban in parks sparks controversy

Posted: Updated:

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - There is a new push to prohibit smoking at several popular beach parks on Oahu.

Honolulu City Council member Stanley Chang will introduce Bill 72 which would ban smoking at Duke Kahanamoku Beach Park, Kapiolani Beach Park, Kapiolani Park Beach Center, Kapiolani Park, Kuhio Beach Park, Sandy Beach Park, and the sand areas at Ala Moana Park. The measure is up for first reading at the full council meeting at 10 a.m. on Wednesday.

"I can personally attest to the fact that I have cleaned up thousands of cigarette butts from the streets, the parks, and the beaches, and it's a big issue for public health and safety," Chang said.

Kemper Hardy is in Hawaii on vacation from Atlanta where there is a ban on smoking in public parks. He hopes the Honolulu City Council doesn't pass similar legislation.

"I hope it doesn't come that way because then you don't have the leisure to actually do what you want to do as far as pleasure in that regard," said Hardy.

Chang said if the ban is successful, the restrictions could be extended to beach parks across Oahu.

"I think it's a great idea because people just throw their cigarette butts down in the park. They throw it on the beach. Then it's a giant ashtray," said Waikiki resident Bryant Robey.

"If they're smoking, the park is big enough for everybody, so just walk to the part of the park that they don't smoke in," said Atlanta resident Melvin Buckner.

Since Hawaii passed a smoke-free workplace law in 2006, only four citations have reportedly been issued. Chang said personnel from the city's parks department could help with monitoring and enforcement.

"We have to start with education and once the word gets out that smoking is not okay, we're hoping that that education process means we won't have to do a lot of enforcement," Chang said.

"The best idea would probably be to create a designate smoking area. It would contain the trash, the litter from the cigarette butts and not spread it all over the park," said smoker Jenn Anderson of Honolulu.

Copyright 2012 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.