Big Island council bans smoking in cars if kids are passengers
By Erin Miller
West Hawaii Today
HILO — It probably won't be enforced, proponents conceded, but a ban on smoking in cars when kids are present will be the law following a Big Island council vote yesterday afternoon.
Puna Councilwoman Emily Naeole-Beason introduced the measure; her legislative aide, Roxanne Hampton, conceded the measure will likely not be enforced.
Smoking is not a right, County Council Chairman J Yoshimoto reminded his colleagues, immediately before they adopted the bill to ban smoking in motor vehicles while children are inside.
"Who speaks up for the kids?" asked Yoshimoto, who represents parts of Hilo and Puna. "Kids are the responsibility of responsible adults. It's a health issue. The facts are clear. We don't need to debate the health effects of smoke."
North Kona Councilman Kelly Greenwell called supporting Naeole-Beason's measure a no-brainer and asked the council to pass it unanimously.
Dennis Onishi, representing a Hilo District, opposed the measure and said the problem was really a lack of education.
"We're talking about a portion of irresponsible parents that should know better if they care for their kids," Onishi said. "We cannot be taking away the rights of people because of a small portion of parents. We need to step up education and have these parents understand that this is wrong."
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