KONA, HAWAII (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii County has become the first in the state to ban the use of e-cigarettes at beaches, county parks, public buildings and anywhere else traditional tobacco cigarette smoking is banned.
West Hawaii Today reports that Mayor Billy Kenoi signed the bill on Monday after it passed through the County Council on a 5-4 vote last month. Kenoi said he wants to promote a healthier lifestyle on Hawaii.
Supporters of the bill say "vaping" sends the wrong message to youth. A recent state Department of Health survey found the number of high school students who have used e-cigarettes tripled from 2011 to 2013, and quadrupled among middle school students during the same time period.
However, critics say there's no evidence that e-cigarettes are harmful, pointing to an increasing amount of people using them as a way to wean off traditional cigarettes. In addition, charcoal grills, aerosol insect sprays and sunscreens should be banned in open-air environments as well, they say.