Kaua'i Council passes partial ban on smoking in restaurant/bars
LIHU'E, Kaua'i â€” The Kaua'i County Council this week voted 7-0 to pass a restaurant smoking ban with exemptions for open-air eating places and restaurant/bars that switch from one to the other.
Anti-smoking activists were disappointed by the allowances, fearing that many restaurants may attempt to change their hours of operation to take advantage of the restaurant/bar exemption.
"Although we are disappointed that they did not remove the part-time restaurant/bar exemption, we appreciate that they did listen and try to resolve the complicated issue," said Clifford Chang, director of the Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Hawai'i.
The bill provides for a review one year after its Jan. 1 effective date. Charles Roessler of the Tobacco-Free Kaua'i Coalition said his group will be back then to try to toughen the smoking ban.
"We feel this is a small step in the right direction," Roessler said.
Kaua'i is the third county â€” after Maui and Honolulu â€” to approve a restaurant smoking ban. The Hawai'i County Council is deliberating on a similar measure.
The Kaua'i bill still requires the signature of Mayor Maryanne Kusaka, whose office said she has not yet reviewed the bill in its final form.
"We're going to spend a little bit of time with the attorneys to see what was passed," said mayoral administrative assistant Wallace Rezentes Sr.
Even if Kusaka were to veto it, the council has enough votes for an override.
Under the bill, open-air portions of a restaurant where the tables are at least 10 feet away from indoor nonsmoking tables could be designated for smoking. Also, in a restaurant/bar that stops serving food at a certain time and effectively becomes only a bar, smoking could be allowed during posted hours when the facility functions purely as a bar.
Two Kaua'i restaurants that stop serving food after the lunch hour and then serve only liquor had argued for the exemption.
The council failed to approve another exemption that would have allowed small, family-owned restaurants to permit smoking. It did allow smoking in open-air swimming pool areas and open-air hotel lobbies.