Consumer Protection Committees to Discuss “Youth Vaping Epidemic”

October 10, 2019, 9:26 AM HST · Updated October 10, 9:28 AM
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An informational briefing on the “youth vaping epidemic” will take place at 10 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 17 at the State Capitol.  The briefing is hosted by the House Committee on Consumer Protection and Commerce and the Senate Commerce, Consumer Protection and Health Committee.

House organizers call youth vaping “a serious public health issue” and say there has been a dramatic increase in use of electronic smoking devices by Hawaiʻi’s youth.

Only 4.7 percent of Hawaiʻi adults report use of electronic smoking devices, compared to 26 percent of public high school students with numbers up to 34 percent for the neighbor islands, according to state data. The national vaping average is 13 percent. Overall, U.S. youth vaping surged 78 percent in just one year between 2017 and 2018.

“The lack of federal regulation has allowed the tobacco industry and electronic smoking device industry to significantly increase the introduction and marketing of flavored non-cigarette tobacco products, especially electronic smoking devices,” according to House organizers.

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The US Surgeon General, Food & Drug Administration and the CDC have since urged states to take action. They are prompting state and local jurisdictions to protect children from nicotine addiction and associated health risks by addressing youth e-cigarette use.

“Hawai‘i has experienced a heightened promotion of vape products that offer candy and local flavors specifically designed to appeal to the State’s youth. These flavors include candy, fruit, chocolate, mint, Kona coffee, Maui mango, shaka strawberry, and Moloka‘i hot bread. Many of the packages are designed to look like popular kids’ candies, such as Jolly Ranchers and Sour Patch Kids,” according to a press release announcing he House briefing.

In this informational briefing, Hawai‘i speakers will give presentations on the growing local and national problem associated with youth e-cigarette use and two experts will speak on the current commerce, regulation, and policy trends of flavored tobacco and menthol and its effects on public health, especially as it relates to youth.

Presentations include:

Update on Vaping Epidemic by the Department of the Attorney General
Hawaiʻi’s Youth Vaping Epidemic by the Department of Health
Update on the Cases of Severe Pulmonary Disease Associated with E-Cigarette Use by Dr. Bryan, pediatrician and Medical Director for Kapiolani Smokefree Families
Targeting of Youth Through Marketing & Sales by Samantha Domingo, Farrington High School student and Hawaiʻi Public Health Institute Youth Council Member
The Truth About Tobacco Economics by Dr. Frank Chaloupka, Research Professor at Institute for Health Research and Policy, University of Illinois at Chicago
San Francisco’s Flavor Ban – Implementation and Enforcement of E-Cigarette Regulation Laws by Dr. Valerie Yerger, naturopathic doctor and Associate Professor at Center for Tobacco Control Research & Education, University of California, San Francisco
No public testimony will be accepted.

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