Cleaner Air, Messier Ground? - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Cleaner Air, Messier Ground?

Michael Sete Michael Sete
Lyn Briggs Lyn Briggs
Queen's Hospital cafeteria donated these large cans for cigarette disposal on Lauhala Street Queen's Hospital cafeteria donated these large cans for cigarette disposal on Lauhala Street

By Minna Sugimoto

HONOLULU (KHNL) -- Some say cigarette butts are winding up all over the place after a new Hawaii law moved smokers away from buildings where ash trays were conveniently set up.

A cigarette butt here. Another one there. As bad as it seems, Michael Sete says it's nothing compared to how the sidewalk on Lauhala Street looked a couple of weeks ago.

"It was terrible," he said. "I mean, I'm a smoker myself. And, you know, probably just in this area, there was about maybe 50 butts. And for every square, there was about 50 butts. So it was pretty bad."

When Hawaii's new law banning smoking in enclosed or partially-enclosed spaces took effect last month, some workers at the Queen's Medical Center lost many of their designated smoking areas. They were forced to walk across Lauhala Street to light up.

"They were kind of disgusted with the law, and so they would just flick their cigarette butts out into the street or onto the ground," Lyn Briggs, smoker, said. "And after a period of time, it just started building up and accumulating."

To a point where it started to bother the smokers themselves.

"The next week, some of us decided that it was pretty disgusting," Briggs said. "And one particular lady took it upon herself. She got a little broom and a little sweep, dust pan and started sweeping it up."

She says the hospital's cafeteria donated large coffee cans for smokers to use as ash trays.

"I appreciate it 'cause, I figure if we have to walk all the way out here to smoke, at least there's somewhere to dispose of them instead of, you know, if there's nothing, they're just going to throw them on the ground," Sete said.

The state Department of Health says it's received two complaints about increased cigarette butts since the law took effect. One was in Kapolei, the other in Kalihi.

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