Oahu residents react to new smoking ban at beaches, parks

By Brenton Awa
Published On: Jan 02 2014 07:47:42 AM HST

A new smoking ban goes into effect on Oahu on Jan. 1, making it illegal to smoke in all city parks.

HONOLULU -

A new city smoking ban prevents smokers from lighting up at 284 parks and various city beaches across Oahu.

VIDEO: Oahu smoking ban goes into effect

A lot of people we spoke with had no idea the ban was in effect.

Kaneohe resident Laila Groves was one of them.

"I think it's good," said Groves.

Most of the people we spoke with said the same thing.  Supporters of the new law say the bottom line is public health.

"I think it's great because I run on the beach and sometimes I would run by the smokers and it would really affect me.  Bother me when I'm breathing really hard and running," said Kaneohe resident Jenny Son.

It's also illegal to smoke at city beach parks, or within 20 feet of city bus stops.

Some smokers say the city's rules have gone too far.

"There's just too many rules.  I think it's wrong.  I think it's too restrictive," said smoker Tim Thomas.  "I think there's too many vocal minorities trying to control what people do when they go to the beach.  I think that's wrong."

But, some non-smokers say not only will this reduce cigarette trash, it'll also get rid of awkward encounters.

"You don't really want to offend them and you don't want to get into big altercations, so basically you put up with it but it's very unfortunate," said Son.

"They just puffing their cigarette and I feel that is very offensive," said Ming Lok of Honolulu.

Some smokers don't agree.

"I think that's wrong.  It's outdoors.  I think people should be able to enjoy the beach without any restrictions of smoking," said Thomas.

There's still one loophole that allows smokers to light up at the beach.  A fine line at the water's edge, where the city can't enforce because it's the state's jurisdiction.

If you are caught breaking the law, the fine is $100 for the first offense and $500 for three or more offenses.

The law does not include e-cigarettes.

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