Gray Area with Smoking Ban

HONOLULU (KHNL) - Smokers caught lighting up right in front of no-smoking signs at a clinic in Honolulu - It seems like violation of Hawaii's new smoking ban, but there's somewhat of a gray area.

Bob Lamb took pictures of smokers caught in the act. Lamb is a patient at the Department of Veterans Affairs Clinic. He says it's what he sees every time he flies in from the Big Island for his check-ups.

"It's kind of disgusting when, here I am doing the legal thing, and then people are standing in front of the no-smoking signs making me choke," says Lamb.

The issue hits home for Lamb. He used to be a smoker himself until he was diagnosed with emphysema. Lamb quit and no longer has it, but he still gets bronchitis and asthma when he's near cigarette smoke - a problem he says flares up when he visits the VA clinic.

Although non-smoking signs are plastered all over the entrance of the VA clinic, it is federal property. So Hawaii's state laws, such as the smoking ban, don't apply.

"It's hard to believe since the signs are up, why put up a sign if they don't have to have the law?" says Lamb.

Whether or not these smokers are breaking federal law, Lamb says the bigger issue is that they're blowing off respect for other people's health.

It's not clear if it's illegal to smoke in the non-smoking area of the VA clinic. Calls to the clinic were left unreturned Friday.