Bill 6, which will make it illegal for adults to smoke in a vehicle when a minor is present, has passed Maui County Council. The new law brings Maui County in line with similar legislation already in place on the Big Island of Hawaiʻi, Kaua‘i, and O‘ahu.
The new law will become effective on July 1st of this year.
Under the measure, individuals are prohibited from smoking in vehicles when persons under the age of 18 are present.
Supporters of the legislation say “Inhaling secondhand smoke is especially harmful because children’s lungs are still developing.”
Advocates say  passing the smoke-free cars into law will help decrease children’s exposure to secondhand smoke and educate parents and other adults about the dangers of smoking in a car when a minor is present.
Katie Folio, the Community Coordinator for the Coalition for a Tobacco Free Hawaiʻi and Hawaiʻi Public Health Institute on Maui said that going forward there is still more work to be done.
In an email communication she said, “We will certainly continue work to educate the community about the new law, and to support the efforts of the Smoke-Free UHMC Initiative to move the campus in a smoke-free direction.”
As far as county level policy issues, Folio said the Coalition has identified youth use of electronic smoking devices (ESDs), otherwise known as vaping, as an issue that still must be addressed.
“The vaping industry has taken their cues from big tobacco and target youth in very similar ways, hoping to create lifetime users. While the liquids used in ESDs often contain nicotine and are deemed a tobacco product by the FDA, they are not yet held to the same standards and regulations as the tobacco industry,” said Folio.
“In order to further protect our keiki, the coalition hopes to continue to work with the community, our County Council and, of course, our youth, to identify and support local policy changes that will help to keep vaping from being so accessible and attractive to our kids, and to bring our youth use rates down for Maui County,” said Folio.