Council Passes Smoking Ban
Smoking ban supporters cheered Wednesday when the City Council passed a measure that has failed for years.
The bill passed in a 7-3 vote.
The measure will ban smoking in restaurants this July except for bar areas in restaurants, which will be off-limits to smokers in July of 2003. Smoking will still be allowed in nightclubs and bars.
"Smoke is not just a nuisance to restaurant patrons and employees. It kills people and it kills lots of people," state Health Director Bruce Anderson said.
Health advocates showed up to support the restrictions, and no restaurant owners testified against the bill.
A nightclub manager, who worried that tourists might be unhappy, did speak.
"There are a million other places in the world they can go on their vacations, have just as good a time as they do coming to Hawaii without having to be told when to breathe, when not to breathe, when to stand, when to sit," George Tanish said.
Rene Mansho, the only cigarette smoker on the council, tried to weaken the proposal by allowing smoking at bar areas in restaurants.
"This is to level the playing field, for the stand-along bars and nightclubs that will continue to allow smoking," Masho said.
However, a majority of council members said that didn't make sense, since the purpose of the proposal is to protect restaurant employees.
"Are they any less vulnerable to second-hand smoke in the bar, as opposed to the restaurant and kitchen areas?" Councilman John Henry Felix said. The smoking proposal now goes to the mayor. Even if the mayor vetoes the restaurant smoking bill, there are enough council votes at this point to override him.