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News Summary

Bill would allow smoking in bars

Publication Date: 2007-02-21
  • Author:Mark Niesse, AP
  • Publication:Honolulu Star-Bulletin

Defiant bar owners are pushing proposals that would let customers smoke while they drink, despite a statewide ban on smoking in public places.

One such bill would get around Hawaii's no-smoking law by creating a new kind of liquor license that allows establishments to permit smoking. Lawmakers will hear the idea tomorrow.

The legislation has emerged as more than a dozen bars throughout the state are now openly breaking the smoking law by allowing their customers to light up inside their businesses. Local police so far have not issued any citations...

Deborah Zysman, director of the Coalition for a Tobacco Free Hawaii, said the state would be reversing the progress it has made toward protecting the public from secondhand smoke if it approves an exemption for bars.

"We're talking about taking a major step back," Zysman said. "Right now, the law is fair and equitable. It's a level playing field for all employers, regardless of what industry they work in."