Oahu bans smoking at the beach
(CNN) — What’s better than hanging out in Hawaii and enjoying a warm heater on the beach?
Apparently, hanging out in Hawaii and not enjoying a warm heater on the beach — yours or anyone else’s.
Honolulu mayor Kirk Caldwell has signed into law two bills that ban smoking in public places across Oahu, including beaches, parks, tennis courts, softball fields and public pools. Municipal golf courses are excepted from the ban.
The laws will take effect on January 1, 2014.
Unanimously approved by the Honolulu City Council, the new laws expand existing regulations banning smoking in public places.
It’s already against the law on Oahu to smoke within 20 feet of entrances to stores, restaurants, bars and other workplaces.
Smoking has been illegal at the island’s popular Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve snorkeling site since 1993.
According to CNN affiliate KHON, the ban is part of a statewide effort to reduce cigarette-butt litter and address public health concerns about secondhand smoke.
The law goes so far as banning smoking in the ocean in areas fronting public lands.
“If someone wants to walk out into the water and wants to smoke a cigarette here it will be enforced and they will be told to stop,” Mayor Caldwell told KHON.
First time offenders would face fines of $100. Fines for additional offenses escalate up to $500.
E-cigarettes aren’t covered by the ban and can still be used on Oahu beaches.
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, between 1993 and 2011, smoking bans were imposed on 843 parks and 150 beaches around the United States.