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

  1. Prohibit the sale of all flavored tobacco products;
  2. Establish parity between cigarette and electronic cigarette taxation, permitting and licensing; and
  3. Maintain funding for tobacco prevention and cessation programs by protecting the Hawai‘i Tobacco Prevention and Control Trust Fund.
The 2022 Hawai‘i legislative session started promising with several bills being introduced to end the vaping epidemic. While Governor Ige introduced two bills restricting the sale of flavored tobacco products (House Bill 2150 and Senate Bill 3118), and advocates rallied around two comprehensive tobacco bills that would have brought tax parity for vaping products with combustible tobacco as well as restrictions to flavored tobacco (Senate Bill 2563 and House Bill 1698), House Bill 1570 received the most traction.

In its original form, HB 1570 would have fully prohibited the sale of flavored tobacco products, including e-liquids. However, the bill was amended before its passage and sent to the Governor’s desk, carving out exceptions for products authorized for sale by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Not only would these carve outs surrender Hawai‘i’s long-standing authority to determine what tobacco products are permitted to be sold to Hawai‘i residents, but it would have potentially left most of the flavored products available today on the shelf. The American Lung Association in Hawai‘i joined various advocates in successfully asking the Governor for a veto of HB 1750, pointing out that leaving such carve outs would be a benefit to tobacco companies and a disservice to youth in Hawai‘i.

While no tobacco control legislation was successful in 2022, the issue gained some new champions. Youth vaping bills were not part of the Hawai‘i Department of Education’s (DOE) legislative priority list prior to this year. DOE principals quickly organized to ensure that youth vaping be among the top four issues and the DOE worked in step with tobacco control advocates providing support and testimony for prohibiting the sale of flavored tobacco.

Youth advocates also impressively organized to educate lawmakers and the public on the importance of flavor restrictions. Their efforts led to nearly 100% of neighborhood boards in Hawai‘i submitting testimony in support of comprehensive tobacco flavor restrictions. The media also took notice, publishing several Editorials and Op-eds in support of flavor restrictions and calling on lawmakers to act. Several legislative champions, such as Representative Jeanne Kapela and Representative Tina Wildberger, took to their chamber’s floor to make impassioned speeches to convince their colleagues to reconsider their votes on House Bill 1570.

The American Lung Association in Hawai‘i will continue to work with its partners and volunteers in 2023 to place an emphasis on the value, both financial and health-related, of effective tobacco control policies. We will continue to advocate for an increase in dedicated funding for tobacco control activities, tax parity among all tobacco products, and eliminating the sale of all flavored tobacco products.

Hawaii Facts
Healthcare Costs Due to Smoking: $526,253,732
Adult Smoking Rate: 10.10%
High School Smoking Rate: 5.30%
High School Tobacco Use Rate: 23.20%
Middle School Smoking Rate: 3.10%
Smoking Attributable Deaths per Year: 1,420
Adult smoking data come from CDC's 2021 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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