Smokers feeling pushed out by ban
If signed into law, the ban will require smokers to adjust their habits even more
For the past 14 years, Cindy Lauronal has sat on a small wall just outside Macy's at Pearlridge Center three times a day and taken a smoke break.
But Lauronal could be forced to find another spot to light up if a bill prohibiting people from smoking within 20 feet of public entrances is signed by the governor.
"Once you're outdoors, I don't feel they should have a right to tell us where to smoke if it's open air," she said yesterday as she sat in her usual spot.
"We already got banned from smoking indoors. Once we're outdoors, it's free air," Lauronal said.
The state Legislature approved a bill this week to reduce secondhand smoke exposure, banning smoking in enclosed and partially enclosed public places and workplaces, including bars, restaurants and shopping malls. The bill, supporters say, is meant to better protect the health of workers and patrons.
Smoking will also be banned from hotel lobbies and lanais as well as airports.
The measure includes a provision that prohibits smoking within 20 feet of building entrances and exits, open windows and ventilation intakes.
Gov. Linda Lingle has until July 11 to sign Senate Bill 3262 into law. In the meantime, the bill will be reviewed by Lingle and various departments, including the Department of Health. If signed, the bill will go into effect on Nov. 16.
"She has been a strong supporter for reducing the tobacco use as well as minimizing the risks of secondhand smoke," spokesman Russell Pang said.
Some smokers at Pearlridge Center and Ala Moana Center had mixed reactions to the bill.
"I'm totally against it," said Lauronal, of Pearl City, who smokes a pack a day and works as a customer service representative for Macy's. "It's totally taking away my freedom."
Vincent Olinger, 37, who was sitting near the main entrance of the Uptown building of Pearlridge Center, said, "People have to come outside and smoke. Now they want to push people further. That's wrong."
Fred Paine, general manager of Pearlridge Center -- the largest enclosed shopping center in the state -- supports the bill. "It's excellent. It's just a good thing for everyone," he said.
Paine said he does not foresee it being a problem for smokers. "We'll wait and see what happens," he said.
At Ala Moana Center, Song Mun was taking a smoke break at an ashtray near the Coach store after doing some electrical work at the upcoming Jimmy Choo store.
Mun, 46, who smokes less than a pack of cigarettes a day, said he anticipates having to walk into the parking lot to smoke if the bill becomes law. "It might take a little longer to have a cigarette," Mun said.
He said he understands the danger of secondhand smoke and is trying to quit. "If that becomes law, we have to follow the law," Mun said.
Erica Neves, director of tourism for Ala Moana Center, said they are still waiting to see if Lingle will sign the bill and how it will affect the state's largest open-air shopping center. About half of the 42 million trips made to Ala Moana Center annually are done by people visiting the island.* And many of those visitors are Japanese and smokers.
She said they would have to find a way to accommodate visitors should the bill become law. "I don't know if that means having designated areas. We'd have to look at all of that," Neves said.
Saturday, May 6, 2006
» Ala Moana Center says about half of the 42 million trips made to the mall each year are done by people visiting the island. A story on Page A5 in yesterday's morning edition incorrectly said about 42 million shoppers visit the center each year.