The House Committee on Health held decision making on HB525, which would make all state parks tobacco-free, earlier today. The nine-member committee unanimously passed the bill with amendments. Four voted aye, five voted with reservations.
On Saturday, January 31, Surfrider Foundation and the Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Hawai`i conducted four simultaneous beach clean-ups on Oahu (Ewa), Kauai (Anahola), and Hawaii Island (Kona and Hilo). Over 360 volunteers across the state collected and took a tally of the most littered items on Hawaii’s beaches.
“We collected over 15,000 cigarette butts along with 3,426 pieces of plastic and 1,386 pieces of foam from four beaches this Saturday,” said Stuart Coleman, Hawaii Coordinator for the Surfrider Foundation. “Cigarette butts, plastic, and expanded polystyrene foam are among the most littered items in Hawaii and the world.”
HB525 prohibits smoking and the use of tobacco, electronic smoking devices, or betel nut products within the state park system. Concerns centered on the ban on electronic smoking devices and betel nut, as well as with the Department of Land and Natural Resources’ ability to enforce the ban.