By Wendy Osher
A Maui lawmaker introduced a bill seeking a ban on smoking at all beaches in the state.
Freshman Rep. Kaniela Ing of South Maui called Maui beaches “world-renown,” saying cigarette butts are still one of the primary causes of litter on Maui.
Last year, Community Work Day program’s three-hour “Get the Drift and Bag it” event collected over 7,600 cigarette butts on Maui.
Additionally, Rep. Ing cited national surveys, which he said indicate that Hawai’i reports between 15 and 30 cases of children ingesting cigarette butts each year.
Rep. Ing also acknowledged the health risk to smokers and risks caused by second-hand smoke.
He said he introduced the measure to keep the beaches clean and ensure that both residents and visitors are able to enjoy their beach experience while keeping their children safe.
According to a poll conducted by the Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Hawaii 73% of respondents reportedly supported smoke-free beaches.
Rep. Ing said he sees the bill as a chance to facilitate discussion and see where the community currently stands on this issue. “I encourage emails and phone calls to my office and promise that all will be read and considered wholeheartedly before pushing forward this piece of legislation,” he said.