Smoking Restricted At Honolulu International Airport

HONOLULU (KHNL) - Thursday is the "Great American Smokeout" nationwide and here in Hawai'i, the beginning of new, very restrictive no-smoking rules.

Smoking will now be banned in virtually all public places, including most places at island airports.

Later this week, congested entry ways at the airport and partially enclosed areas become smoke-free.

Sights like this will be fewer and far between starting Thursday when the smoking ban goes into effect.

"I think it's a good idea and I hope they can do more," said Ed Beltran, a non-smoker from Ewa Beach.

"Well, I think it's a little bit too restrictive," said Martha Puailoa, a smoker who lives in Lanikai.

For now smokers are able to smoke in the designated smoking area just outside the sliding glass doors, but starting Thursday they'll have to walk over to the center median to light up.

Smokers will also be able to smoke at uncovered areas and in open-air parking lots.

Non-smokers, happy about the new law, say it can impact the health of everyone, including unborn babies.

"Just mainly I don't want my child being affected because there can be birth defects from smoking," said Morela Gomez, a non-smoker and expectant mother from Ewa Beach.

A former smoker says she kicked the habit because of what she saw at work.

"I've been wanting to quit on and off and I know it's not healthy for me. I'm a nurse and I see the consequences when I work in the recovery room," said Pauline Boutros, who is visiting from Florida.

Some smokers say the new law is just the incentive they need to leave the airport as quickly as possible.

"I'll just have to go out and grab a cab and get home where I can smoke," said Puailoa.

But for one smoker, the partial smoking ban may be just the push he needs.

"Maybe it's good. I want to quit smoking," said Masaichy Lukun, a smoker from Honolulu.

Whether an incentive to quit or reduced second-hand smoke, the new law will have folks breathing a little bit easier.

Violators could be fined up to $50. But the airport is encouraging its employees to direct smokers to designated smoking areas since it may take some time for people to learn about the new law.