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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, July 25, 2003

Big Isle smoking ban is a solid first step

Congratulations to the Big Island County Council for its decision to join the rest of the state in banning smoking in restaurants in Hawai'i County.

In a compromise of sorts, the council chose not to ban smoking in bars, part of the original proposal. Opponents successfully argued that customers would simply not go to drinking establishments if they could not smoke.

Our guess is that is not so. Other jurisdictions that have banned smoking in bars have found business unaffected.

There are unintended-consequences issues to be dealt with, of course, including the increase of litter that occurs outside where smokers congregate. But the payoff in a cleaner, smoke-free environment for both customers and employees is worth it.

Once Hawai'i County becomes comfortable with the restaurant ban, it should revisit the idea of banning smoking in all public places of accommodation, including bars.