The Maui County Council, which holds jurisdiction over the islands of Maui, Molokai, and Lanai, passed a bill prohibiting tobacco use at all beaches, county facilities and parks last week.

The legislation now requires only the signature of Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa to become law.

“Cigarette butts are pervasive, toxic and polluting our oceans and beaches,”  Lauren Campbell, conservation manager for the Pacific Whale Foundation, a Maui-based tour company, said in a statement. “We are so excited that our county leaders listened and that our efforts paid off.”

Oahu and the Big Island of Hawaii have also implemented similar smoking bans.

In January, community groups collaborated with Maui students on an island-wide cigarette butt sweep, hoping to drum up support for the proposed county smoking ban. According to Tim Lara, owner of Maui-based Hawaiian Paddle Sports, the effort yielded more than 14,000 cigarette butts collected at Maui county beach parks in under 2 hours.

“We encounter cigarette butts all the time during beach cleanups, but really needed something that would resonate with the council members and help them better understand the seriousness of the issue,” Lara said in a statement. “I think the number of cigarette butts we collected that day, though, surprised even ourselves.”
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