Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Hawai‘i and Maui County youth join the American Cancer Society’s annual intervention event, the Great American Smokeout (GASO), to support two important local smoke-free initiatives: 1) a smoke-free campus policy for the University of Hawai‘i Maui Campus, and 2) a bill currently before the Maui County Council that would make it illegal to smoke in a vehicle when a minor is present.
We received tremendous support! Every single student and faculty member that stopped by the Smoke-Free UHMC table, manned by volunteer nursing students Maggie Holloway and J.T. Keefer, was in favor of a 100 percent smoke-free campus policy for UHMC. The table offered information on smoke-free campus policies, the effects of secondhand smoke, tobacco trivia, GASO materials, cessation resources for Maui County, and some fun giveaways.
It was a breath of fresh air (pun intended) to hear unanimous support for this initiative with not a single dissenting point of view. There was strong community support for the proposed smoke-free cars bill as well.
A poll conducted in 2016 showed that 84 percent of Maui County residents would like to see this bill passed, which seemed to also be reflected in the number of honks and waves we received from evening commuters during our GASO sign waving event along Ka‘ahumanu Avenue in front of the Queen Ka‘ahumanu Center.
Maui is the last county to pass this smoke-free vehicles policy at the local level. It’s time!
A number of different organizations were represented, including the Maui, Molokai and Lana‘i Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Hawai‘i, the Maui Economic Opportunity youth program, the Blue Zones Project, and Councilmember Yuki Lei Sugimura. Maui Now also stopped by to interview some of the participants. Another sign waving is being organized for the week leading up to the January 5th committee meeting hearing of the bill.
As the year comes to an end, we are looking ahead to the possibilities that 2018 holds for these initiatives. We hope that they will be passed and implemented in the coming year so that we can start to reap the benefits.