Councilman wants to restrict smoking at bus stops

Published: Apr. 29, 2013 at 8:57 PM HST|Updated: Apr. 30, 2013 at 10:09 AM HST
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John Manini (in foreground in brown shirt)
John Manini (in foreground in brown shirt)
City Councilman Ron Menor
City Councilman Ron Menor
Kawika Crowley
Kawika Crowley
Annie Hollis
Annie Hollis

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - There are about 4,000 bus stops on Oahu, and right now there are no restrictions on where people who are waiting for the bus can smoke.

Bus rider John Manini has a rule of thumb when he lights up.

"I walk away from the bus stop," he said.

Bill 28 (2013) would force other smokers at bus stops to follow in his footsteps. City Councilman Ron Menor introduced it.

"This is not an outright ban on smoking for bus riders who choose to smoke while waiting for a bus," he said. "What this bill would do is establish boundaries within which smoking would be prohibited."

The boundary would extend 20 feet beyond a bus stop, creating a smoke-free zone.

"It's not the issue of smoking, It's the issue of fairness and rights," said Kawika Crowley of the Hawaii Smokers Alliance.

He said the bill unfairly targets smokers and makes no sense.

"Ron Menor doesn't want anybody smoking at bus stops where there's more carcinogens from passing motorists, 10,000 times more, than one little stupid cigarette," he said.

On Oahu, smoking is banned in restaurants and bars, in government buildings, and on some beaches. The Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Hawaii helped write the bus stop bill.

"We're not trying to criminalize any person. People are free to make their own choices. We just want to make healthy environments for everyone. Second-hand smoke is just as dangerous to smokers as it is to people who don't smoke," coalition public policy director Annie Hollis said.

But Crowley believes the measure further restricts smoking, despite government making money off taxing tobacco products

"You would think that the state looks at this segment of the population, providing so many millions of dollars in taxes, that they would give us even more areas to smoke," he said.

If it becomes law, Honolulu would join several mainland city's that restrict smoking at bus stops.

"This bill is really designed to promote the health and well-being of many bus riders," Menor said.

Bill 28 goes before the full City Council May 8.

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