Laws and Policies

Smoke Free Environment

In 2006 the Hawaiʻi State Legislature passed sweeping laws under HRS328J expanding the scope of smoke free prohibitions in various enclosed and partially enclosed areas.  Effective January 1, 2016 the prohibition now includes electronic smoking devices also known as e-cigarettes:
New sign

  1. Work and educational settings
  2. Restaurants and retail settings
  3. Hotels and multi-unit housing common areas
  4. Care and rehabilitation facilities including prisons
  5. Indoor and outdoor recreational settings
  6. Transportation related areas

Clearly legible signs that include the words Smoking Prohibited by Law with letters not less than an inch high or, the international “no smoking” symbol shall be clearly posted at entrances at places open to the public or places of employment were smoking is prohibited.

Local counties have also passed laws calling for additional smoking restrictions in areas not covered by state laws. Individual agencies and multi-unit buildings such as condominiums have also enacted their own smoke free policies for their respective properties. A growing number of agencies and private businesses have developed individual policies banning their use in settings such the work place, restaurants or city operated buses. Current state law restrict sales of electronic smoking devices (ESD) including e-cigarettes by persons under 18.

1. Work & Education




Work sites prohibit smoking in:

  • All enclosed/partially enclosed areas of employment. The employer can be a person, business, partnership, association, corporation, including the State or any of its political subdivisions, a trust, or nonprofit entity that employs the services of one or more individual persons.
  • All enclosed or partially enclosed areas, including buildings and vehicles owned, leased, or operated by the State or any county.

Educational sites that prohibit smoking include:

  • University of Hawaii at Manoa campus including parking lots.
  • Public school buildings under HRS 328J. In addition HRS 302A-102 prohibits use of tobacco at all public school functions for grades K through 12,*
  • Public and private educational facilities such as:
    • Libraries
    • Museums
    • Aquariums
    • Convention halls
  • Licensed child and adult day care facilities.
HRS 328J-12

*Penalty unspecified

HRS 328J-12



  • Smoking banned at state run universities and community colleges including outdoor dining patios and lanais. School chancellors may designate their entire campus as smoke free,

2. Restaurants & Retail

Restaurant n Retail



Smoking prohibited in restaurants including:

  • Coffee shops
  • Cafeterias
  • Sandwich stands
  • Kitchens and catering facilities in which food is prepared on the premises for serving elsewhere
  • Bar area within the restaurant and outdoor areas of restaurants

Smoking prohibited in retail settings such as:

  • Retail stores except tobacco shops
  • Shopping malls that are enclosed or partially enclosed
HRS 328J-3



Honolulu County laws are more restrictive:
Retail stores:

  • Honolulu City Ordinances makes no exceptions for tobacco shops thus restricting smoking in all retail stores. [Honolulu City Ordinance; 41-21.2f]
ROH 41-21.5

3. Hotels & Multi-Unit Housing

Hotel_n_Multi Unit



Smoking, including ESD’s as of 2016, is prohibited in all enclosed or partially enclosed areas open to the public, including but not limited to the following places:

  • Lobbies
  • Meeting rooms
  • Banquet facilities

Hotels may not designate more than 20% of their rooms for smoking by guests.

NOTE: Hotels can also establish their own policies making their entire building or franchise smoke free; i.e. Marriott.

Multi-unit housing:
Smoking, including ESD’s as of 2016, is prohibited in common areas such as:

  • Hallways
  • Lobbies

Other common areas fitting this description include:

  • Mail rooms
  • Laundry rooms
  • Party rooms

NOTE: Apartment building boards can also establish their own policies making their entire building and grounds smoke free. The Coalition for a Tobacco Free Hawaii has useful information for tenants and apartment owners who wish to go smoke free.

State Public Housing:
All Hawaii Public Housing Authority public housing are smoke free [HRS 356D-6.5].

HRS 328J-12 applies to all but public housing

HRS 356D-92

4. Care & Rehabilitation




Unless otherwise noted HRS 328J-3 bans smoking in enclosed or partially enclosed areas in:

  • Healthcare facilities with exceptions: Occupants in private/semi-private rooms in nursing homes & long term care facilities may request rooms where smoking is allowed.
  • Licensed child and adult day care facilities.

All state hospitals – those operated by the Hawaii Health Systems Corporation – now ban smoking including electronic smoking devices on their properties.

HRS 328J-12




Private hospital tobacco free policies vary from facility to facility. Tripler Army Center is now tobacco free including a ban on electronic smoking devices.

State prisons:

  • Were not covered under HRS 328J but have adopted policies; [COR.01.22], making prisons and adjoining campuses smoke free.
HRS 328J-12


5. Indoor & Outdoor Recreation




Unless otherwise noted HRS 328J-3 bans smoking, including ESD’s as of 2016, in enclosed or partially enclosed areas in:

  • Night clubs
  • Movie theaters and concert halls
  • Bowling alleys
  • Restaurants and bars
  • Fitness centers
  • Sports arenas


HRS 328J-12



Beaches and public parks:

  • Hawai‘i County (Big Island) parks and beaches went free of all tobacco products in 2008, [Hawai‘i County Code 14-21b].
  • All Oahu County parks and beaches are smoke free. [ROH 41-21.3 amended by Bill 25 (2013) CD2 RD 1]. Exceptions: Honolulu county golf courses are excluded.
  • Maui county parks and beaches are smoke free. [Maui County Code 13.040.20 amended by Ord 4120].
  • Kauai’s Lydgate Park (pavilion and Kamalani Playground) is tobacco free.
HCC 14-24b

ROH 41-21.5

MCC 13.020.40

6. Transportation




Smoking banned by state law; HRS 328J, in the following:

  • All airports
  • State and county operated public transportation and taxi cabs
HRS 328J-12



Some counties have passed local laws banning smoking in areas not specified under HRS 328J:
Bus stops

  • No smoking at all Oahu bus stops [ROH 41-21.1 amended by Bill 28 (2013) CD2 FD1].
  • No smoking including electronic smoking devices within 20 feet of Maui county bus stops [Amendment to Chapter 82.0 of Maui County Code].

Private vehicles

  • Oahu (Honolulu County) law bans smoking including electronics smoking devices in vehicles with occupants under 18 years or age.
  • Big Island (Hawai‘i County) law forbids smoking in vehicles with occupants under 18 years or age. [Hawai‘i County Code, Sect 14-21 (12), Ord #10-33].
  • Kauai County law forbids smoking in vehicles with occupants under 13 years of age [Bill 2629 KCC]
ROH 41-21.5b


8.20.040 MCC



HCC 14-24B


Electronic Smoking Devices

While state law restricts sales of electronic smoking devices (ESD) also known as e-cigarettes, some state and county laws prohibiting smoking cigarettes do not cover ESD. A growing number of agencies and private businesses have developed their own policies regarding use.





  • Electronic smoking devices (ESD) cannot be sold to minors under 21 after January 1, 2016.  [SB1030 SD1 HD2],
  • Retailers and anyone selling tobacco products including ESD must post a sign at the point of sale warning customers it is unlawful to sell these products to minors under 18.. [HRS 709-908 amended by HB672 HD 2 SD 2 CD1].
  • It is unlawful for any minor to purchase tobacco products including an electronic smoking device  [HRS 709-908 amended by HB672 HD 2 SD 2 CD1],
  • Effective January 1, 2016 Chapter 328J, Hawaii Revised Statutes is amended to prohibit the use of electronic smoking devices (definition)  in places where smoking is prohibited.
HRS 709-908 (4)



Some counties have passed stricter local laws:

  • Hawai‘i County banned the use of electronic cigarettes at beaches, county parks, public buildings and anywhere else traditional tobacco cigarette smoking is banned
HCC 14-138



  • Vapor producing devices including electronic cigarettes are prohibited on Honolulu city buses [ROH 13-3.1-6].
  • Possession or use of electronic cigarettes by public school students is contraband (Class D offense).
  • Aloha Stadium prohibits electronic/vapor cigarettes.
  • Some private restaurants and movie theaters prohibit the use of electronic cigarettes.
  • ESD use is prohibited in and around all state buildings under the jurisdiction of the Department of Accounting and General Services.
ROH 13-3.1-6

HAR 8, Ch.19-5


DAGS memo

Sales to Youth / Distribution / Signage / Tax


New Age banner1



Sales to Youth:

  • It is unlawful to sell or furnish tobacco in any form to a minor including electronic smoking devices under  21 and It shall be unlawful for a minor under 21 to buy any tobacco product [HRS 712-1258].
  • Possession or consumption of a tobacco product by a person under twenty-one years of age in a public place shall be prohibited [HRS 312-212]
  • Vendors of cigarettes and tobacco products must have a retail license. [HRS 245-2.6].
  • No sales of single cigarettes or packs with less than 20 cigarettes [HRS 712-1257].
  • No distribution of tobacco samples, products, coupons, or promotional ads in streets, sidewalks or parks within 1000’ of any public, middle or high school [HRS 328J-17].
  • No sales from vending machines unless the vending machine is in a bar, cabaret or establishment for which the minimum age for admission is 18 [HRS 328J-16].
  • No sales from lunch wagons within 1000’ of any public or private elementary or secondary school grounds [HRS 328J-16].

Retailer Requirements:

  • It shall be unlawful to sell or distribute foreign cigarettes not intended for sale in the U.S. or which lack federal health warnings [HRS 245-51].
  • Signs warning against the sale of tobacco products including electronic cigarettes must be posted at the point of sale. [HRS 712-1258)].
  • All Hawaiʻi tobacco sales must take place in a face-to-face transaction [HRS 328J-18]

Tax [HRS 245-1 to 63, see tax chart]:

  • 16¢ per cigarette and little cigars
  • 70% of wholesale price for tobacco products other than cigars
  • 50% of wholesale price for large cigars

HRS 709-908 (4)
HRS 245-53

HRS 712-1257 (4)

HRS 328J-17

HRS 328J-16

HRS 328J-16

HRS 245-2.7

HRS 709-908 (4)

HRS 245-30




  • No sales or furnishing on Oahu of bidi cigarettes; tobacco wrapped in temburni or tendu leaf [ROH 40-18].
  • No herbal cigarette sales on Oahu to minors under 18 [ROH 40-20]..


  • On Oahu a person shall not use an unofficial ID card with a false birth date to buy an unallowable product (tobacco) [ROH 40.17.3].

ROH 40.18.3

ROH 40.20.3

see penalties

ROH 40. 17.3.c

Tobacco Prevention & Education Program – 1250 Punchbowl St. Rm 217- Honolulu, HI 96813
Phone: (808) 586-4613 / Fax: (808) 586-8252