Maui Celebrates 1st Anniversary of Tobacco Free Beaches, Parks

April 22, 2015, 3:50 PM HST · Updated April 22, 3:50 PM
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Volunteers at the Haycraft Beach Park at Māʻalaea clean up this past Saturday. Photo courtesy: Sonya Niess, MPH Maui County Coordinator, Coalition for a Tobacco Free Hawaii

Volunteers at the Haycraft Beach Park at Māʻalaea clean up this past Saturday. Photo courtesy: Sonya Niess, MPH Maui County Coordinator, Coalition for a Tobacco Free Hawaiʻi.

By Wendy Osher

Today marks the one-year anniversary of a bill that effectively banned the use of tobacco at county parks, beaches and recreational facilities in Maui County.

The bill was introduced by Council Member Don Guzman and gained approval on Earth Day 2014, after the receipt of more than 400 letters of testimony.

In celebration of the first year of implementation, community partners held several beach cleanup events on Saturday, April 18, at Haycraft Beach Park in Māʻalaea and at Kanahā Beach Park in Central Maui.

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Participating organizations included Mālama Maui Nui, the Surfrider Foundation Maui Chapter, and the Coalition for a Tobacco Free Hawaiʻi.

Sonya Niess, Maui County Coordinator for the Coalition for a Tobacco Free Hawaiʻi said official signage is still pending approval; however, the signs are projected to be posted at beach parks, parks and recreational facilities in the near future.

“That’s the number one question I get, ‘Where are the signs?’  From my understanding, it’s coming,” said Niess, who noted that temporary signs are posted at all areas affected by the law.

Violation of the law will result in a $150-$500 citation, “though the community is encouraged to help spread the word to their fellow beach and park goers to help avoid penalties,” said Niess.

“We are seeing a difference” says Sonya Niess, “There are less cigarette butts being picked up at our beach clean-up events; however, it’s going to take time to see big change.”

More information on this law can be found at the following direct LINK.

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