New year, new laws against smoking in public places

New year, new laws against smoking in public places

WAIKIKI (HawaiiNewsNow) - 'Lighting up' in public places could mean 'paying up' for smokers.

Smoking bans took effect on January 1st, making it illegal to have a cigarette at all Honolulu beaches, parks, pools, and athletic facilities -- including tennis courts.

Cillar Tutaki, who is visiting from Australia, agrees with the ban.

"I think it's a great idea," says Tutaki, "and I'm an ex-smoker."

Her husband, Robert Tutaki, says the beaches are too crowded.  He says second-hand smoke would bother him and dozens of others at Waikiki Beach.

The Honolulu City Council unanimously passed the smoking ban in July citing the dangers of smoking and the rubbish from cigarette butts.   There was strong opposition to the bill.

"How can people comply with this?" testified Michael Zehner of the Hawaii Smokers Alliance at the hearing.

"It's making it so difficult, you just won't have compliance," said Zehner.

The council took it another step, passing another bill that also bans smoking within 20 feet of a city bus stop.  There are 4,000 on Oahu.

"Second-hand smoke really affects me," says Raymond Caayon, who was taking bus #62 to a friend's house.

"There's a lot of elderly people and children catching the bus," says Caayon, who supports the new restrictions.

City officials acknowledge, enforcement of the new smoking laws will be difficult, and want voluntary compliance, but if someone is caught by Honolulu Police, that person can be cited.  Fines start at $100.

The only exception to the ban, municipal golf courses.

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