Smoking ban gets tougher
Gov. Linda Lingle signed a bill yesterday to ban smoking in a variety of public places, including restaurants, bowling alleys, taxicabs and shopping malls, as well as from curb to cabin at the state's airports.
"We now have concrete research about the serious dangers of secondhand smoke. We also know that tobacco is a leading cause of preventable death in Hawaii. Therefore, it is critical that we do all we can to protect the health of our residents and visitors by providing public venues that are truly smoke-free," said Lingle, a former smoker and current anti-smoking advocate.
The new law will go into effect Nov. 16, the same day as the American Cancer Society's Great American Smokeout.
More than 126 million nonsmoking Americans are regularly exposed to smokers' fumes, and tens of thousands die each year as a result, according to a federal study released last month. It cited "overwhelming scientific evidence" that secondhand smoke causes heart disease, lung cancer and other illnesses.
The report called for completely smoke-free buildings and public places, saying that separate smoking sections and ventilation systems do not fully protect nonsmokers.
Hawaii joins at least 17 other states and more than 400 towns, cities and counties that have already passed strong no-smoking laws.