Airport, Offices, Even Bars May Soon Be Smoke-Free

Rep. Josh Green
Rep. Josh Green

Honolulu (KHNL) -- Bar Patrons and Aiport Commuters may soon be banned from lighting up.

Now state lawmakers are poised to ban smoking in all enclosed public spaces.

"We really wanted to protect people who couldn't deal with smoke, who had chronic lung problems," said Rep. Josh Green.

A proposed bill would ban smoking in public places like the airport, offices, even bars.

Currently each county enforces its own smoking rules.

Lawmakers want the same regulations to apply across the state.

Some businesses say they like giving their customers and employees a smoke-free environment, but they prefer not to have this kind of policy forced upon them.

Manager Ruth King likes to see happy customers at Dixie Grill on Ward Avenue, and she knows clean air makes them happy.

"I think customers appreciate the choice," King said. "They appreciate knowing we don't have smoking in the restaurant or our lanais."

"I think the public should be allowed to make their own choice," King said. "I think business should not be mandated to make that choice for the public."

Supporters of a ban say smoking creates so many public health problems they want businesses statewide to follow the same rules.

"We didn't want any question in people's minds," Green said. "We wanted them to know it's the best policy for the whole state to ban smoking in public places."

Businesses caught breaking this ban would face fines up to $100 for their first offense, with penalties increasing for subsequent violations.

If approved by the governor, the ban would take effect on Nov.16.