Target: Honolulu County Mayor Kirk Caldwell
Goal: Ban smoking in public areas
The Honolulu City Council has recently passed a smoking ban that makes it illegal to smoke at any of the city’s beaches, parks, and athletic fields, excluding golf courses. The City Council also passed a ban that prohibits smoking at all city bus stops. Both bans were passed with a unanimous vote. In order for the bans to go into effect, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell must approve them.
The bans, while they may be poorly received by smokers, will protect nonsmokers from the ill effects of secondhand smoke. Secondhand smoke contains over 7,000 chemicals, with approximately seventy of them known to cause cancer. Secondhand smoke can also cause heart disease, lung cancer, and increases the chance of heart attack immediately after exposure. It can seriously harm children as well, causing asthma attacks, respiratory infections, and ear infections.
In addition to making the air cleaner, the bans will encourage smokers to quit. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2010 15.4 percent of the adult population, over 154,000 people, were current cigarette smokers. The greatest percentage of smokers came from the eighteen to twenty-four age bracket, at 18.7 percent of all smokers. In addition, among Hawaii’s youth, ages twelve to seventeen, 6.8 percent were current smokers. Banning smoking in highly frequented areas like parks, beaches, and bus stops may help Hawaii’s young adults quit smoking before they experience serious health issues.
Hawaii has already banned smoking from all enclosed or partially enclosed facilities that are owned by the state and counties, are open to the public, or are places of employment, in airports, within twenty feet of doorways and windows, within enclosed or partially enclosed sports/outdoor arenas, stadiums, and amphitheaters. These new bans will simply expand upon the existing law, providing a healthier environment for Honolulu County residents. By signing the petition below, you will urge Mayor Kirk Caldwell to approve the new smoking bans.
Dear Mayor Kirk Caldwell,
The new smoking bans will better the county by providing cleaner air for all residents. The majority of the state’s residents are nonsmokers, and those in impacted areas will appreciate the new bans. Prohibiting smoking at city bus stops is especially important as many children and the elderly use and rely on public transportation. These groups are two of the most vulnerable to the negative effects of secondhand smoke.
Furthermore, the bans will encourage current smokers to quit. The majority of Hawaii’s smokers are between the ages of eighteen and twenty-four. The bans will make it difficult for them to smoke, pushing them to stop before they experience serious medical issues.
Finally, if the County of Honolulu enacts these bans, the rest of the state’s counties will be more likely to do the same, thus improving the state’s overall health.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Deutschlandreform via Wikimedia Commons