Hawaii Tobacco Sales to Minors Below National Average

The Hawai‘i State Department of Health (DOH) Alcohol and Drug Abuse Division (ADAD) survey results for illegal tobacco sales to minors show this year’s 6.1% rate in Hawai‘i falls below the 9.3% federal fiscal year 2010 national weighted average.

The annual survey is a joint effort between the DOH and the University of Hawai‘i to determine the extent of illegal sales of tobacco products to minors. The survey monitors the state’s compliance with the “Synar” (tobacco) regulations for the federal Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant.

Of the four counties included in the 2011 statewide survey, the County of Kaua‘i had no sales, the County of Maui had a 3.0 percent rate, the County of Honolulu had a 5.7 percent sales rate and the County of Hawai‘i had a 11.9 percent rate. Due to the small sample size rates for individual counties are not considered statistically reliable. Hawaii law prohibits tobacco sales to persons under the age of 18 and merchants convicted of selling to minors face a mandatory fine of $500. In the Spring of 2011, teams made up of youth volunteers (ages 15-17) and adult observers visited a random sample of 264 stores in which the youth attempted to buy cigarettes to determine how well retailers were complying with the State tobacco laws. Sixteen stores (6.1 percent) sold to minors (ages 15-17). Sales to a minor occurred less than 0.9% of the time if clerks asked for ID.

In 1996, the state’s first survey results showed a noncompliance rate of 44.5 percent. After the implementation of law enforcement operations, this rate steadily dropped and was maintained below 10 percent with the exception of 2008. Over the past three years Hawai‘i has been able to reduce and maintain a lower rate. With stronger enforcement of tobacco laws being implemented, the aim is to eliminate teenage tobacco use.

However, with an increase in the variety of tobacco products, it is still important to educate retailers on training their staff to avoid selling tobacco to minors. The DOH Tobacco Prevention and Education Program has tools and training packets available at no cost to assist retailers.

For more information, go to http://hawaii.gov/health/healthy-lifestyles/tobacco/index.html

Background Information on Survey

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Department of Health Cites Kaua’i Industries and Big Island Landscaping for Asbestos Violations

The Hawai‘i State Department of Health (DOH) has issued a Notice of Violation and Order against Kaua‘i Industries, LLC and Big Island Landscaping for multiple violations of the state’s asbestos demolition and renovation regulations.

Kaua‘i Industries, LLC and Big Island Landscaping were cited for failure to thoroughly inspect the affected facility for the presence of asbestos prior to its demolition activity; failing to provide the DOH with a separate written notice of intention to demolish prior to its activity; and engaging in an asbestos disturbance activity without proper asbestos certification.

The violations were discovered during a site inspection at the Kekaha Sugar Mill on Kauai on April 6, 2011.  The DOH has imposed a penalty of $9,000. Kaua‘i Industries, LLC and Big Island Landscaping may request a hearing to contest the allegations or order.

Since the department’s discovery of the violations, the owner and operators of the Kekaha Sugar Mill demolition project have been cooperative in correcting the deficiencies in accordance with state requirements.

The DOH Indoor & Radiological Health Branch regulates demolition and renovation activities to ensure thorough identification of asbestos materials and prevent improper abatement or disturbance of material that can pose a risk to public health. The branch requires all owners, operators and contractors involved in demolition activities to use certified asbestos inspectors to conduct a thorough and complete inspection of the facility or portion of facility for the presence of asbestos prior to demolition; properly notify of the DOH prior to demolition; and use only certified asbestos abatement employees when engaging in asbestos abatement or disturbance.

Photography Is Not a Crime – Posting Pictures of Kids in Public Places on Your Website is Legal

Well the 2011 Pahoa Parade is now long over.  I posted 145 pictures of the parade on my blog and now it appears that I have upset a parent because in one of those pictures their child is in it.

My son getting dragged by a hot dog at the 2011 Pahoa Parade

I received the following email and when I tried to reply to the sender the email bounced so I guess this person was using a fake account or something to bother me.

Please remove the picture of my child from your website from todays Pahoa Parade

I really had no clue which picture they were talking about so I responded like this although now I realize they never got this:

“Your crazy… A) which picture are you talking about… B) when you show me the picture… I may feature it now that you attempting to suppress my freedom of the press and taking pictures in a public place!

I’ve been thinking about this on and off all day and I just can’t believe how ridiculous some folks maybe at times.  I wonder if this parent also requested that the Hawaii Tribune remove any pictures that may have posted of their child if the Tribune captured them in their pictures of the parade.

I know that Hawaii24/7 has a whole 5 minute video featuring nothing but folks in the parade.  Will this parent insist that Hawaii24/7 edits out the picture of their child in it if they happen to see this video?

I’ve had an ongoing discussion with some folks on my facebook page and I can’t believe some of the comments I have received. However, one of the responses I respect the most comes from a pre-school teahcer:

…I think many schools have FB (Facebook) pages these days as an alternative to costly web sites. It’s much easier to portray the fun things that go on, the beauty of an environment, and the joy of learning form a smile on a child’s face…from a picture, than a verbal description. A picture used to simply “speak a thousand words”. But now, a picture has become a tool for child endangerment. Wow! What is this world coming to???

Many folks think it’s straight up illegal at times!  Others say you could be harming a child by placing pictures of them on the internet.

Do folks realize that most schools now a days are putting their childrens pictures on the internet?  My son’s school is a private school and considered one of the best schools in the State… Kamehameha Schools and even all of their teachers from Kindergarten on up have very public blogs where they post pictures of the kids doing school functions.

When parents are afraid of the internet or the tools available for kids to use on the internet… It’s kind of scary to me.  I myself would rather have my kid surfing the internet and looking at pictures of his friends and classmates…. then walking down to the local store by himself!

Parenting and education is crucial in the development of children.  My son has a very public website and he is only 7 years old.  Is some “Bully Parent” going to tell my son that he can’t post pictures of his friends on his site?

And just so folks know… I probably would have removed that particular picture… had the email not come anonymously nor with the “DEMAND” that came with it.  Still to this day… I don’t know what picture it is… however I do know what organization they belong to.

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