Think About It: No Ifs, Ands, or Butts - KFVE, K5-Hawaii News, Weather and Sports

November 22, 2012

Think About It: No Ifs, Ands, or Butts

In 2008, the Big Island banned smoking and tobacco use at all County beaches, parks, and recreational facilities. In 2010, Hawai'i County expanded its protections against second–hand smoke when it passed legislation prohibiting smoking in any motor vehicle occupied by a minor. Now, there is a call to ban smoking at some of Oahu's most popular beaches. Honolulu City Council Bill 72 would tell people to keep their butts off our beaches, if you know what I mean.

Yes, smoking is still legal, and yes, we all pay for it through insurance premiums at some level, but the places where addicted smokers can light up continue to disappear like a puff of smoke. Workplaces, restaurants, and now beaches- it's enough to make a dedicated person simply quit, and wouldn't that be great. The beach ban doesn't mean you can't smoke at all- like by your car in a parking lot, it just means you can't drag on the beach, where countless remnants of cigarettes, the butts, are found daily.

The tobacco lobby is one of the strongest lobbying groups in this country. As the medical evidence has grown against smoking, so has the lobby's resiliency. And yes, I understand the right for people to do what they want and where they want and all that, but the price has always been too high for others when it involves smoking and litter. This ban is about pollution more than secondhand smoke, and is really just common sense on an issue that plagues the world, and this bill needs to be enacted and then enforced. 20% of Americans still smoke, and it is estimated that 1.3-billion people smoke worldwide. So in conclusion, we welcome your bodies at Oahu beaches, we just don't want your butts. Think about it…

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