Smoking ban will be difficult to enforce
Hawaii County has banned smoking at all of its parks, beaches and recreational facilities.
Hawaii County's new ban on smoking at all its beaches, parks and other recreational facilities is one of the broadest in the state with the beneficial goals of reducing tobacco use and litter in public spaces.
The best of intentions, unfortunately, do not guarantee results because enforcing the ban will likely prove difficult on an island where parks and beaches stretch along more than 300 miles of shorelines and are largely unsupervised.
The County Council overrode Mayor Harry Kim's veto of the ban despite his pointing out the enforcement problem and his call for designated smoking sites and disposal receptacles.
There already are litter laws that have proven ineffective in stopping irresponsible smokers from tossing butts in the sand -- just as other thoughtless citizens toss trash without care -- because laws aren't enforced. However, the Council hopes that the ban, a $100 fine and public pressure will curb puffing and that eventually smokers will comply.
As with previous smoking legislation, visitor industry officials expressed concern that tourists, particularly from Japan and South Korea, would reject Hawaii, even though smoking restrictions are increasingly being accepted.
The county, which last year established a no-smoking beach at Kahaluu park in Kona, extended the ban to all other parks, a golf course, rodeo grounds, an auditorium and equestrian complex and a drag strip and all of the facilities' parking lots.
The only other park in Hawaii where smoking is not allowed is at Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve on Oahu, but the state and other counties might follow the Big Island's example if the ban works out.
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