• Hawaiʻi State Senate

Senate Vice President calls for courtesy for kupuna by avoiding smoking in apartments

Senate Vice President calls for courtesy for kupuna by avoiding smoking in apartments during ‘stay at home’ order

Senate Vice President Michelle N. Kidani (D-Mililani Town, portion of Waipi‘o Gentry, Waikele, Village Park, Royal Kunia) is asking the public to heed the plea of a disabled kupuna to refrain from smoking in apartment and condominium buildings.

The woman wrote the Senator over the weekend describing her situation.

“I am a disabled senior citizen who lives in a condominium. My husband, also a senior citizen, and I have chronic medical conditions that are exacerbated by our neighbor’s drifting secondhand smoke,” she wrote.

“Last Sunday, equipped with my depleting oxygen supply, I barely escaped, calling 911 due to life-threatening symptoms triggered by neighbor’s secondhand smoke drifting into our unit.

“While I understand and agree with the need for social distancing and, thus, Staying at Home and Sheltering in Place during this COVID-19 pandemic, my husband and I find being mandated to confine ourselves in our hazardous, toxic environment to be tortuous, inhumane and lethal.”

The elderly woman asked for a temporary order to ban smoking in individual units in buildings like hers. “This action will not only protect vulnerable condominium dwellers, but also avoid need for related 911 calls, emergency room visits, hospital admissions, (and) reduce need for medical supplies, i.e. oxygen, respirators and more.”

Senator Kidani indicated that the Board of Directors of the complainant’s building were contacted. They responded by saying they did not have the number of votes needed to prohibit smoking in the building, even on a temporary basis. While the building manager did relay to the smoker the respiratory problems of the elderly neighbor, the smoker wasn’t willing to stop.

“How can the need to smoke be more important than a disabled neighbor’s need to breathe non-toxic air?,” the Senator said. “Let’s please have aloha and consider the plight of others.”

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Copyright 2019 Hawai`i Senate Majority

Hawai`i State Capitol
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Honolulu, HI 96813