Monday, November 19, 2007

Smoking Ban - One Year Anniversary

As a former pack-a-day smoker, I always used to dread the coming of the Great American Smokeout day - the Thursday before Thanksgiving. (You know, that day when you symbolically and heroically throw your cigarettes into the trash, and then sneak back out to retrieve them at midnight when you think no one else is watching?) Now that I've quit for the past several years, I didn't even realize that the day had come and gone, until the media pointed out that it was one year ago on November 16th that the new Hawaii anti-smoking law went into effect. The law prohibits smoking in places of employment and all eating and drinking establishments.

Here's some interesting items on the matter from Linda Chiem's PBN story, 11/16 issue:
  • The Department of Health spent $340,000 on its public awareness campaign.
  • Littering has become a problem because smokers who are standing 20 ft. away from a building don't have ashtrays to use.
  • Compliance has been good, and in most cases, the law did not significantly change the way a business was doing business.
  • The hardest hit businesses, of course, are the bars. The Hawaii Bar Association filed a lawsuit earlier this year, but the lawsuit was dismissed in Circuit Court.
  • The Department of Health has still not approved rules giving it the authority to cite and fine violators. The DOH received 523 complaints and issued 396 notices of violation and letters of warning.

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