In victory for anti-vaping advocates, Hawaii is set to ban flavored vaping products
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) — After more than seven years of trying, the state is on the verge of banning flavored vaping products.
But vape shop operators say the ban will put hundreds of smaller retailers out of business.
House Bill 1570 will ban the sale of all flavored vaping products and impose fines on people who sell them.
Similar bills have been introduced over the years, but have stalled.
Vape shop operators say it’s the most advanced proposal ever made to the Legislative Assembly.
“We have hundreds of businesses that are going to be impacted by this flavor ban. That’s thousands of jobs we were talking about, millions of dollars in sales tax revenue,” said Scott Rasak of Volcano Fine Electronic Cigarettes. .
Some consumers say banning flavored vaping products won’t get them to quit smoking and will likely force them to start smoking cigarettes again.
“If we had to get rid of it, I would definitely smoke a cigarette again,” said Kuuipo Gilman, from Waianae.
The ban aims to address the problem of underage vaping, which experts say is on the rise in Hawaii.
“In Hawaii, about half of our high school students have tried e-cigarettes. And about a third of them in college said they’ve tried it,” said Lola Irvin, administrator of the state Department of Health’s Division of Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.
Vaping products can only be sold to adults aged 21 and over, but the Department of Health believes they are readily available to underage children and flavored products are particularly appealing to young people.
Retailers say that instead of banning them, the state should better enforce and restrict sales to children and teens.
But health officials said that was not enough.
“We hope it will not be a question between income and the health of our children. In Hawaii, we will take care of the health of our children first and that is our priority,” Irvin said.
The bill will now go to a House-Senate conference committee.
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