Maui County

Maui Council
OKs smoking ban

Mayor Apana says that he
will sign the measure affecting
restaurants on 3 isles

By Gary T. Kubota

WAILUKU >> A Maui County Council survey found that operators of more than 400 restaurants overwhelmingly supported a smoking ban in restaurants, said acting Council Chairman Dain Kane.

The survey by Kane's office led him to introduce a smoking ban bill that was unanimously passed by the County Council yesterday.

"I think it's a tremendous step forward," Kane said.

Maui County Mayor James "Kimo" Apana said he plans to sign the bill into law Friday morning. "It's a good direction for Maui County," Apana said.

The smoking ban in restaurants on Lanai, Molokai and Maui would start Jan. 1.

A county ordinance currently allows restaurants in Maui County to provide a designated area for smoking. Under the bill, the ban affects restaurants and bars in restaurants but not stand-alone bars.

The Council rejected an amendment proposed by Councilwoman Jo Anne Johnson to also ban smoking in stand-alone bars.

The penalty for a violation, now $10 to $25, would go up starting in January, ranging from $25 to $50.

State health officials said scientific evidence shows secondhand tobacco smoke can adversely affect the health of people and increase the chances of diseases, including lung cancer, heart disease and other respiratory problems.

"We have learned that environmental tobacco smoke is more toxic and more of a health risk than previously believed," said Julian Lipsher, a state health official with the Tobacco Prevention and Education Program.

Dr. Lorrin Pang, the state health officer on Maui, said the health cost related to tobacco in Hawaii is estimated at about $360 million a year.

Tobacco is the largest cause of preventable deaths, he said.

Pang said the National Institutes of Health studies show education will only go so far in reducing tobacco smoking and that other actions are also needed, including environmental bans on smoking.

Youths from Molokai, Lanai and Hana testified yesterday in support of the smoking ban.

"It's not healthy for us," said Jennah-Keri Tulafole, a Molokai resident.

Keshia Adolpho, another Molokai resident, said she supported the bill because there was a need to have the few restaurants on her island free from tobacco smoke.

County of Maui

E-mail to City Desk


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