Hawaii County

Big Island smoking
ban is complete

Bars in restaurants must now
comply, but not stand-alone bars

HILO >> Yesterday was the last day for customers to smoke in Big Island bars inside restaurants.

A smoking ban in restaurants and other work locations went into effect on Feb. 1, but in passing the smoking ban last year, the Hawaii County Council gave restaurants with bars in them seven additional months to comply.

Smoking is still permitted in stand-alone bars not connected with a restaurant.

The distinction on paper between bars and restaurants is a source of continuing confusion in real life for John Politano, manager of Charley's Bar and Grill in Keaau, south of Hilo. That's because Charley's bar also serves food.

Until yesterday, the law allowed Charley's to serve alcohol and food and to permit smoking as long as food sales didn't pass a certain limit.

Politano said he didn't know what the law will allow or prohibit today. He'll call the owner of Charley's in Arizona for guidance.

Deborah Zysman of the Coalition for a Tobacco Free Hawaii said the Big Island has the most extensive smoking ban among the state's four counties. Other counties are more lax about smoking in certain workplaces.

Her organization will consider whether to recommend that the smoking bans across the state be extended to stand-alone bars, she said.

Nationwide, six states and 138 municipalities ban smoking in stand-alone bars, she said.

A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association reported that bar employees subject to secondhand smoke inhale the equivalent of three fourths of a pack of cigarettes a day, Zysman said.

A survey of about 2,000 Hawaii residents done in July found that 41 percent work in places where smoking is still permitted, she said.

County of Hawaii



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