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Maui Lawmaker Introduces Bill to Ban Smoking on Beaches

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   January 31st, 2013 · 75 Disqus Comments ·
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· Featured, Maui News
File photo by Wendy Osher.

File photo by Wendy Osher.

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.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/janine.ehlis Janine Ehlis

    I would have to say this is the most ridiculous bill I have ever seen. Are you going to tell the tourist they can’t smoke on the beach???? Why don’t you spend you time figuring out how to help the homeless, or how to lower the energy cost or how to help the education in Maui schools (High school in Kihei Maybe). The burning cane is not a health risk? What about the spraying of pesticides via helicopter over the cane fields which is witnessed this last week I couldn’t believe they were aloud to do that. That’s not a health risk. ING I voted for you don’t make me sorry. This bill is a waste of time and energy.

    • http://www.facebook.com/mark.ing Mark Kaniela Ing

      Thanks for your input. Indeed, KHS is my #1 priority. I introduced this bill to create a meaningful
      public discourse not necessarily to shove it forward. I feel that engaging the public is a big part of public service, not just passing laws. While many bills do not pass in the first year, it creates great discussion: (think historically–civil unions had no chance at first or even woman voting)

      Perhaps this matter will be better addressed at
      county level, pinpointing specific beaches (i.e., Kama’oles because of the kids, but not Makena), but it is due time to at
      least open up discussion.

      Mahalo!

      • Dakine

        Your “green” is showing…. please stop wasting tax payer dollars, and work on more important issues.

      • ugh_ing

        I’m not even a smoker but havent we beat the crap out of smokers enough? In fact smokers have been beat down so much I didnt even realize people still smoked!

        This offers little results for maximum effort, waste of time, next topic please…

      • stand alone

        Maybe, you should introduce another bill on taking the taxes off from cigarettes… cause the rights of we smokers is being taken away. Why don’t you look into the bicycles safety on the roadways. On making a bill for how far from the white line they should stay away. Alot of those bicyclists rides the line and over the line. They think they have all the rights. Why is that? Cause they pay for their bike tax? Well, we pay for our cigarettes tax so what’s the fuss? Litter? Them make a bill for no eating or drinking on the beaches also… and see how far you’ll get with that Bill..

    • ixcare

      Yes we should tell the tourist! You think they would have come here if the beach pictures was full of cigarette? and hey we have LIFE guards at beaches! Get it? I say go another step and RID smoking and save lives Kaniela, Oh yeah I also voted for you.

      • stand alone

        watch what you ask for the next thing they’ll make a bill for is stopping the pollution from your smoking BBQ at the beaches . Cause all that smoke is smoking out the people who is not BBQing

  • Maui_Mike

    Kids that will eat things off the ground such as cigarette butts need better supervision, the smoking ban goes way beyond too far by telling us what we can do outside, that is a stupid idea, and I would ignore it no matter what!
    I do however always take every precaution not to smoke near others no matter where it is, and I never throw butts on the ground….ever, if anything educate the public about not throwing down their butts, many I know save them at the beach to throw away later just like any other trash.

    • http://www.facebook.com/mark.ing Mark Kaniela Ing

      Thanks Mike for being a responsible smoker. No worries, this bill is meant to facilitate discussion, not to shove through as law. If people are talking about the issue and thinking about consequences of littering (possibly seeing a beach smoking ban) then behavior will change and no policy will be needed. So, you are right that litter education is key, and many programs are out there on litter education–this bill helps further getting the word out. Hopefully people will understand the bill’s purpose in that way and not call it a waste of time. If smokers are cognizant, and litter decreases, then no policy will be needed. Mahalo for doing your part!

      • Maui_Mike

        People throw down cigarettes without thinking, I think the majority of people would refrain from doing so if they thought of it as litter (which it is)
        The PWF had a campaign a few years back to raise awareness of this, they gave out repurposed film containers for butts at the beach…..I hope the word can be spread and people get it, if not then a ban may indeed be necessary.
        Mahalo

      • Dakine

        Huh? You create a bill with no intention to make a law, only to create a discussion??? Jfc.

        • http://www.facebook.com/mark.ing Mark Kaniela Ing

          If its time is here, it will be law. If not, it opens discussion to allow its time to come, or the idea to be killed. This is the case for virtually all ideas for law, from woman being able to vote to no plastic bags on Maui. Bringing it up and engaging the public are the first steps to allow us to break away from the status-quo. :)

          • Dakine

            Wow, Women’s suffrage and banning smoking on beaches in the same discussion. I see the similarity, Thanks for your political insight. (I almost cant believe you posted that publicly) :) Please keep posting. ;)

      • Maui_Mike

        I try to do my part to protect the aina, the Pacific Whale Foundation addressed this same issue in 2008, google PWF butts off the beach, perhaps you could get some more input from them.
        Some may think this is a waste of time, I however do not, if even a portion of smokers adopt the habit of throwing their butts in the trash it is worth the effort.
        Aloha.

    • Kanuse

      Monkey see monkey do,kids mimic adults!!I belive nicotine & chemicals in tobacco are clouding the brains of the user.Dont trust anyone who smokes cigs.

  • Ryan

    Work on banning the cane smoke first. Something that really impacts our health!

    • Dakine

      Now this makes way more sense.

  • Kava

    Ban smoking on all beaches? Okay, now this is just reaching a bit too far. I agree that better supervision or training by parents is needed as kids will put anything in their mouths. Even if the beaches were free of any manmade objects, some kids would still try to eat pebbles, shells, sand, seaweed, small dead fish/crabs, seed pods from trees, etc., because they don’t know any better. C’mon, now, got lots of other bigger fish to fry out there. Let this one go!

  • http://www.facebook.com/mark.ing Mark Kaniela Ing

    Thanks for your input everyone! I
    introduced this bill to create a meaningful
    public discourse not necessarily to shove it forward. I feel that
    engaging the public is a big part of public service, not just passing
    laws. While many bills do not pass in the first year, it creates great
    discussion: (think historically–civil unions had no chance at first or
    even woman voting)

    Perhaps this matter will be better addressed at
    county level, pinpointing specific beaches (i.e., Kama’oles because of the kids, but not Makena), but it is due time to at
    least open up discussion.

    Mahalo!

  • usbworks

    Outstanding bill Mr. Ing. Polluting our beaches with cigarette butts is slowly transforming Maui into Greece where you can’t walk on the sand without stepping on a disgusting butt somebody took out of their mouth. Unless we stop it now, we’re throwing away our most valuable asset. The question is how will we enforce this law. For example, there’s a law against dogs off leashes on the beach and everyone ignores it.

    • stand alone

      Yes good deal, no plastic bags. Now we all carry each and every thing that we buy one by one by hand. And now great we got paper bags back. Now that tree that you were talking about littered with plastic bags, we go and chop it down. To make more paper bags and good decision of you. Lets kill the earth with the green house affects quicker. How wonderful it is…..

      • Rys

        Or you could, you know, use one of those handy dandy wonderful earth-friendly reusable fabric/cloth bags. And recycle what paper bags you do use. Let’s look at alternatives already out there instead of being snarky. How wonderful that is….

        • stand alone

          THE ONE THE LAW MAKERS WANT TO ADD TEN CENTS TAX FOR ?????? FOR EACH BAGS?? WELL, I HOPE THE STORES BAGS YOUR ITEMS IN THEIR SMALL BAGS. SO, YOU PAY FOR EACH ONE FOR TEN CENTS!!!

          • Rys

            CAPS LOCK IS CRUISE CONTROL FOR COOL, AM I RIGHT. YOU NEED BIGGER FONT. MAYBE BIGGER FONT WILL GET YOUR POINT ACROSS. OH GOD WHERE’S THE BIGGER FONT.

            The tax thing is for paper bags. Not the cloth bags you buy yourself and bring to use. Which is what I just said. Cloth bags. Good for the earth. Reusable. And if you do get a paper bag, recycle it.

          • stand alone

            “According to the bill, a “single-use bag” would mean any type of one-use checkout bag whether plastic or paper, recycled or non-recycled.”
            maybe you need to take a closer look at the topic………….

          • stand alone

            According to the bill, a “single-use bag” would mean any type of one-use checkout bag whether plastic or paper, recycled or non-recycled.

          • Rys

            And that negates my suggestion of keeping to the reusable bags..how? I mean okay, so it’s for any bag, but the topic of using a reusable bag to avoid the tax still stands, or if you care about the environment that much.

            Plus I kinda wanna use the reusable bags more now that I found some really nice ones on Amazon that look like fish when folded up. They’re quite nice.

        • stand alone

          “According to the bill, a “single-use bag” would mean any type of one-use checkout bag whether plastic or paper, recycled or non-recycled.”
          go check it out//////////

      • Maui_Mike

        Wait a minute, most paper bags are made from recycled materials, so they are green….but this is straying way off subject…lol

        • stand alone

          : )) LOL

  • Dakine

    Looks like we elected a time waster. Great. Nothing new, more of the same. :(

  • Warren Blum

    I would support this bill. People treat our beaches like one big ashtray. Not only is it disgusting, they get washed into the ocean where turtles and other marine life ingest the cigarette butts and become sick or die. Keep cigarettes off the beach – everyone will be better off.

    • Maui_Mike

      No law would keep people from smoking at the beach, and enforcement would be a pretty low priority if it were a law, I think most smokers would do like I do and take them to the trash when leaving the beach, I think most smokers simply have not given it any thought, my friends who smoke and myself have been in the habit of saving our butts for the trash can…some TV ads pointing out the problem may help more than another law to ignore.

  • I love dis

    Maybe we should think about Ing’s pay and cut it. Lets put that up for discussions.

  • I love dis

    I’m wondering if the tax payer got to pay it again.

  • I love dis

    Lets start walking already. Pretty soon they going ban gas cars for pollution.

  • Loving Maui

    Why don’t you go after the litterbugs and not punish all smokers? There needs to be consideration and no one should litter. That doesn’t mean you ban smoking. Why do you want the government to control so many aspects of daily life? And what about the visitors who smoke? People should quit trying to control others and work on solutions, not creating new problems. I smoke and I never litter. I also see trash at the beach and it is not all cigarette butts. It’s a bigger problem than that. Try giving a fine for cigarette butts, and the rest of the trash left on the beach or elsewhere.

  • Kava

    Let’s think about this: Isn’t there already a law that prohibits littering? Aren’t leaving cigarette butts considered littering, and therefore, is already illegal, or banned? So, why do we need a ban to prohibit smoking on beaches? Two prohibitions for the same offense? Some other causes of litter are eating, drinking, cooking, and fishing. Are those going to be banned next? If a ban on smoking doesn’t work, what then, a ban on breathing on beaches? No law has power unless it is enforced. Hint: Step up enforcement, not make more laws.

    • usbworks

      I was standing in the water on the south shore knee deep close to some big whale from the mainland. He finished his smoke and then threw the butt in the water. I told him that he was littering our beautiful ocean. So he picked it up, lifted up his big fat foot, stuck it in his toes and shoved into the sand on the bottom of the ocean. Then he smiled.

      • Kava

        Now that guy was being a blatant a%&hole, and unashamedly breaking the law by littering. Now if he stuck it up his own wazzu, he wouldn’t appear too brilliant though would not have been breaking the law. Props to you, usbworks, for standing up for what is right, really. Mahalo!

  • Mauimother

    To all the smokers commenting here: my children should have the right to go to the beach and breath clean air more than you have the right to have a bad habit and pollute the air. I can’t tell you how many times my well supervised toddler has picked up a cigarette butt while playing in the sand. Gross! To fight this proposal is to be inconsiderate of other people’s health. This proposal will get tremendous support from the community and already is well supported on Facebook. Thank you so much for this! I really hope it passes! People thought the plastic bag ban was ridiculous and it already has made a difference. Maui is a leader in innovative laws. Mahalo!

    • Maui_Mike

      With all due respect, if your child has a propensity to put objects off the ground in their mouth as you say, yet you continue to place the child there then I find that odd, and as far as polluting the air, that is ridiculous, unless a smoker is right next to you then you would never suffer any effect, especially outdoors, to say otherwise is a huge exaggeration, I pay not only regular taxes but high taxes on cigarettes as well, enforce littering yes, ban outdoor smoking no. I hope more people will become aware and change their habits of littering.
      Aloha

      • responsiblecitizen

        another idiot smoker who thinks people aren’t affected by second hand smoke, look at the research! it is crazy that there is cleaner air at a bar then at the beach. This is not just about littering but about people’s right to breath clean air at the beach, and yes we are affected by it when we are outdoors! You can’t imagine that someone would not want to breath in your cigarette smoke when they are outside but we don’t, even when you are 50 feet away! it is a disgusting habit that affects the health of others.

        • Maui_Mike

          Then perhaps you should stop driving your car near the beach, or exhaling carbon dioxide, etc.
          seriously, as long as its responsibly done I think there is enough space for all of us, even those of us with admittedly vile habits, but we are not shooting up dope for Pete’s sake!
          Aloha

          • Rys

            ..are you seriously comparing car exhaust (which contains carbon monoxide) to the natural carbon dioxide exhaled via the natural breathing process? Please tell me you just got the two confused.

          • Maui_Mike

            I was being facetious of course, but both are Co2, and contain the same element, albeit in different concentrations.

          • Rys

            No, one is CO and one is Co2. Both are vastly different. Just because they have the same elements doesn’t mean they’re the same thing.

          • Maui_Mike

            I realize the difference between carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide, they are related elements with different inert properties, I digress, for what it’s worth you are correct.
            Aloha

          • SmatyPants

            Actually they are different molecules, not elements. And the body reacts to them differently.
            The body produces Co2 and releases it when we exhale. You can suffocate by breathing just Co2 because you don’t get oxygen.
            CO binds with the hemoglobin in your blood instead of oxygen so you get poisoned by it.
            So it’s not really about inert properties at all.

          • Maui_Mike

            Mahalo, I stand corrected, and with gained knowledge, I read some misinformation on it, knowledge is power.

          • Rys

            Though I do agree that breathing solely both, either/or, is a bad thing! Kinda makes me want to go buy a plant to keep around.

          • Maui_Mike

            Me too, I used to keep a lot of indoor plants, but not so much anymore, lucky Maui has so little air pollution compared to the mainland, and a good rainforest and many plants…I’ll try not to ruin it all with my vile cigarette smoke!

          • Rys

            HOW DARE YOU. SMOKE. ANYTHING. EVER. Like. Fish. Or ham. Think of the children! And vegans. The vegan children. LOL But yeah, not against smoking per-se, just walking through clouds of it on the way to the parking structure. Otherwise I stay upwind when possible. :p

        • stand alone

          We pay taxes on our cigarettes so we have rights. We smokers are bring harassed from every angle we now don’t smoke in the bars, restaurants, shopping malls, we stay 20 feet away from businesses doors and can’t smoke at airports. And alot more. Now, anywhere else you’re in our space. So, stop blabbing your mouth off. Why don’t go up wind? And stay away from us smokers.

          • Rys

            You pay taxes on your cigarettes so you have the privilege to smoke them, not the right. Right =/= Privilege. And I for one am glad that smokers aren’t smoking in the shopping mall. It was common to walk along the walkways leading to the parking structure at Kaahumanu Center and end up walking through clouds of secondhand smoke. Now that doesn’t happen.

          • Maui_Mike

            It seems crazy to think of the places we were aloud to smoke not long ago, hard to fathom that it was acceptable almost anywhere I went, it was really stupid.

      • MauiMama

        I never said my child puts anything in her mouth. Maybe if you put your cigarette down you will be able to read properly.

        • Maui_Mike

          I assumed when you said pick up butts and mimic adults that you into the child’s mouth was the next logical step, I have raised three children, so I know more than a little about what they do, I think there is room for a middle ground, I am respectful if distance from others and never ever leave my opala at the beach or anywhere else, butts included, it was not my intention to offend you.

          • mauimother

            “mimic adults?” I never wrote that either. (see what smoking does to the brain?) Your reply implies bad parenting and I do take offense to that. I am actually a fierce mother and that is why I want my children to be able to breathe clean air at the beach.

          • Maui_Mike

            I digress, it was another post that said that, no need to be so mean spirited and intolerant of others rights besides your own, the world does not revolve around just your needs and likes and dislikes, I think I will take the high road and agree to disagree with all but a portion of what you say, I stand by my earlier statement, and would add that my children are well educated successful young adults and I assure you I had some influence in that fact, though I’m sure you only meant it as sarcastic condemnation.
            Good day.

      • stand alone

        Well said, Maui Mike I agree with you. Amazing……… LOL.. ALOHA. : ))

        • Maui_Mike

          I have no doubt that we can find common ground on a good many things, you know how I feel, no need to be overly defensive about my opinion. Not pono.
          Hang loose.

    • Clyde 56

      You think that’s gross? Wait until you well supervised toddler picks up someone’s literal piece of kaka. Now THAT is gross!

  • ixcare

    I say Rid of smoking anything PERIOD! Its Fact!!!! It kills you, cost ME ( i dnt smoke, never did ) as health care cost rises. I have the privilege to help everyone in this community who needs emergency help, its very sad to see majority of it would NOT have been an emergency simply if people didnt smoke!!! Its common sense! obviously some dnt get it, and where our elected officials can help! Ever think of it this way? Two people exactly alike is diagnosed with the same type of illness (say cancer) one of the two doesn’t smoke, guess who has a significant chance of beating it? Also guess who doctors treat first and has more options to treat? Been there, survivor of 14 years, I truly believe my body was very healthy to fight the biggest challenge ever!

  • kitty

    People thought not smoking in bars was ridiculous. People thought banning plastic bags was ridiculous. Now we all benefit from these being passed. There are plenty of tourists at hotel pools and there is no smoking allowed there either. Tack on a very hefty fine for smoking at the beach and people will stop and we can put that money towards beneficial community programs (like fixing giggle hill playground). As far as wasting tax payer money, smoking actually costs taxpayers a lot of money in healthcare (medicare) costs. Do the research.

  • http://twitter.com/Aloha_Analytics Aloha Analytics

    Right on, Rep. Ing!

  • I love dis

    Mauimother your kids have the right to breath clean air. You just went the wrong time. Maybe you should walk to the beach cause your a polluter with you vehical.

  • Kanuse

    A word to all tobacco smokers,Lets say this bill passes,you will have three choices#1accept the new law with full integrity,#2run for political office and change the law,#3get the hell out of our state!

    • Maui_Mike

      Or the far more likely #4 ignore the stupid law and take our chance of getting a ticket or more likely a warning.

  • I love dis

    We ban cigarette at beaches, we raise soda taxes so we can be more healthy, we pay to much money for clowns to run our state and county. And they still can sleep good at night.

  • I love dis

    Awesome

  • I love dis

    No matter what we say we are screwed both ways.

  • I love dis

    Everybody pollutes. So everybody is guilty of something but don’t want to admit it or fix it. So we got to make banning laws. It’ll be a long way till we ban gas vehicals too. So we ban cigarette. Ing still goin drive and pollute the air we breath.

  • Southsidesponjah

    I’m in total agreement with this no smoking bill! I don’t hate smokers, most of my friends are, but I can’t ever sit in peace on the beaches anymore without catchin a lung full of cig smoke drifting down the beach.. if everyone’s concern when they go beach is their nicotine cravings, they can go get those volcano smokeless cigs already, and stop stinking up my airspace, and polluting the aina! Go gettum kaniela!

  • Mauimusicman

    The
    Law Sounds Great But if Law enforcement Does not give out tickets it
    is just a law that does nothing. It’s like Hawaii’s $500. fine for
    littering if you gave out those tickets ever time someone thru out there
    window or thru down a cigarette butt you would not need this law.
    Enforcement of a law is every thing. Laws are only as good as as they
    are enforced.


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