Did your state make the grade?

Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the United States and in Hawaii. To address this enormous toll, the American Lung Association calls for the following actions to be taken by Hawaii's elected officials:

  1. Maintain funding for tobacco prevention and cessation programs by protecting the Hawaii Tobacco Prevention and Control Trust Fund;
  2. Prohibit the sale of all flavored tobacco products; and
  3. Establish parity between cigarette and electronic cigarette taxation, permitting and licensing.

The 2021 legislative session in Hawaii did not see major progress for tobacco control policy. Rather, the American Lung Association joined together with partners and advocates to protect the raiding of the Tobacco Prevention and Control Trust Fund, the primary source of funding for tobacco cessation and prevention programs in the state. House Bill 1296, which would have eliminated the Trust Fund and moved the dollars into the General Fund, passed both chambers of the legislature and was sent to the Governor's desk. Advocates quickly organized and succeeded in having Governor David Ige veto the legislation.

During the legislative session, which took place as scheduled but all testimony was held virtually due to COVID-19, various bills to restrict the sale of flavored tobacco products, including e-liquids, were introduced (HB 992, HB1327, HB1328, SB 63, SB1146) but failed to pass out of their respective committees. House Bill 826, which would have achieved tax parity as well as restrict sales of flavored tobacco products with an exception for menthol, made it through most committees, dying during conference between the two houses of the legislature.

Other bills to aiming to define tobacco products to include e-liquids, thereby bringing tax, permitting, and licensing parity with other tobacco products (HB0993, HB1329, SB0621, SB0894) also did not make it out of their respective committees.

While the legislature nearly eliminated the Hawaii Tobacco Prevention and Control Trust Fund, December 2020 polling by the Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Hawaii showed that 85% of Hawaii residents believe it is "very important" for the state to dedicate revenue to programs aimed at preventing tobacco use among kids and helping smokers quit. This was a considerable increase over the 78% of Hawaii residents that said the same thing in 2017. These polling results show that most Hawaii residents strongly believe in tobacco control programs having dedicated funding.

Because of COVID-19 and its economic impact on our state, much attention is expected to be placed on economic recovery efforts during the next legislative session. The American Lung Association along with its partners will be working towards continuing to place an emphasis on the value, both financial and health-related, of effective tobacco control policies.

The American Lung Association in Hawaii will continue to work with its partners and volunteers to protect dedicated funding for tobacco control activities, bring tax parity among all tobacco products, and eliminating the sale of all flavored tobacco products.
Hawaii Facts
Economic Cost Due to Smoking: $526,253,732
Adult Smoking Rate: 11.6%
High School Smoking Rate: 5.3%
High School Tobacco Use Rate: 23.2%
Middle School Smoking Rate: 3.1%
Smoking Attributable Deaths per Year: 1,420

Adult smoking data come from CDC's 2020 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. High school smoking rate is taken from the 2019 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System. High school tobacco use and middle school smoking rates are taken from the 2017 Youth Tobacco Survey. High school tobacco use includes cigarettes, cigars, smokeless tobacco, and electronic vapor products, as well as pipe, bidis, roll-your-own cigarettes, hookah, snus, dissolvable tobacco products, or other new tobacco products not listed, making it incomparable to other states.

Health impact information is taken from the Smoking Attributable Mortality, Morbidity and Economic Costs (SAMMEC) software. Smoking attributable deaths reflect average annual estimates for the period 2005-2009 and are calculated for persons aged 35 years and older. Smoking attributable healthcare expenditures are based on 2004 smoking attributable fractions and 2009 personal healthcare expenditure data. Deaths and expenditures should not be compared by state.

Hawaii Information

Learn more about your state specific legislation regarding efforts towards effective Tobacco Control.

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