Kauai officials weigh ban on tobacco use while kids in car

LIHUE, Hawaii (AP) — Kauai County officials have approved a measure aimed at tackling secondhand smoke that would make it illegal for adults to smoke in their vehicles while minors are inside.

The county’s public works and parks and recreation committee voted unanimously Wednesday to recommend passing a bill that would implement the change, The Garden Island reported (http://bit.ly/29UEPLN).

County Council members were divided on the issue. Those who voiced their support for the proposal praised it as a step toward “protecting our youth”

“It comes down to taking care of our youth and the rights of our children,” Councilman Mason Chock said.

Councilwoman JoAnn Yukimura said the bill could spark more dialogue about the impacts of smoking.

“It might not stop a parent from smoking, but I think it will move us more toward a culture of understanding a new mindset about the dangers of smoking,” she said.

Council members against the legislation said efforts to reduce smoking should focus more on education and outreach, not legal enforcement.

“You don’t need to pass a law for education,” Arryl Kaneshiro said. “You don’t need a law to create a commercial for someone to come on TV and talk about how bad secondhand smoke is. You don’t need a law for people to go into schools to talk about how bad smoking is.”

Councilman Ross Kagawa questioned how effective authorities would be in enforcing such a law.

“It’s very hard to tell when a minor is 18 or not,” Kagawa said. “And for the police to be expected to enforce this consistently, to me is difficult.”

He added that officers already have a hard enough time enforcing a law that prohibits drivers from talking on their cellphones.

The proposal will go before the full County Council on July 29.


Information from: The Garden Island, http://thegardenisland.com/

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