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News Summary

Lawmaker crushes smoking bill

Publication Date: 2010-02-09
  • Author:Tim Sakahara
  • Publication:Hawaii News Now

Non-smokers can continue to breathe easy. A bill that would have allowed bars to get a permit to allow smoking was extinguished Tuesday at the State Capitol.

The smoking ban went into effect three and a half years ago. Some businesses say it's put a huge dent in their profits and many smokers and bar owners are fired up.

"I can't run a bar with no customers," said Bill Comerford, E&J Lounge Operating Co. President, which owns three bars on Oahu including the Irish Rose Saloon, Kelley O'Neil's and O'Toole's Irish Pub.

A new bill would allow certain bars and business to pay for a smoking permit that would cost $1,000 to $3,000. The money would specifically go to organ donation education...

The State Department of Health, American Lung Association, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society and other health groups spoke out against the bill.

In the end Committee Chair Bob Herkes didn't even let the issue come to a vote, citing his personal experience running hotels, bars and cabaret clubs and he did not see how the smoking ban is negatively affecting business or tourism.

"We are going to defer this bill," Herkes told the committee and everyone in attendance, effectively killing the bill.