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News Summary

OUR OPINION: Revise smoking ban to give options to bar owners

Publication Date: 2008-01-12
  • Author:Editorial
  • Publication:Honolulu Star-Bulletin

THE ISSUE: Bar owners are asking for relief from a ban on smoking on their premises.

STATE legislators are being asked to lift the prohibition on smoking in bars, even though the ban is not being enforced. The ban is overly broad and needs revision, but lifting it entirely would be a step back from protecting people against secondhand smoke...

The Hawaii ban includes open-air sections and nonbar property within 20 feet of entrances, exits, windows and ventilation intakes, essentially holding bar owners responsible for enforcing the law beyond their property. That part of the law should be repealed, following the Irish or French example.

The bar owners want to be entirely exempt from the 2006 smoking ban, which includes airports, public transportation facilities and vehicles and other areas available to the public such as restrooms, lobbies, reception areas, hotels, offices and banks.

Their plight is understandable; while only 20 percent of Hawaii residents are smokers, Bill Comerford of the Hawaii Bar Owners Association claims that two-thirds of bar customers smoke. The same is true in France; about 12 million of the French -- about 20 percent of the population -- smoke, according to official figures.

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