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Bill to ban flavored vaping products passes legislature, sent to governor for signature

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Vaping. PC: Maui Now.

A bill to ban the sale of flavored vaping products has passed both chambers of the Legislature and now moves to Governor David Ige’s desk for his signature. 

HB1570 HD1 SD2, introduced by Windward Oʻahu Representative Scot Z. Matayoshi, aims to minimize access to harmful tobacco products that disproportionately target kids.

Rep. Matayoshi (Kāne‘ohe, Maunawili, Olomana)

“Flavored vaping products have targeted kids for years, addicting a generation to nicotine right under our noses,” said Rep. Matayoshi (Kāne‘ohe, Maunawili, Olomana). “The long-term health consequences will be felt for years to come, but this bill is a start to minimizing these impacts.”

According to the 2019 Hawaiʻi Youth Risk Behavior Survey, a significant 31% of middle schoolers have tried electronic smoking devices and an even greater number of public high school students at 48%. Local flavors such as orange soda and Maui mango are known to entice youth to seek out and use these harmful products.

“No one disputes that nicotine is incredibly addicting and disrupts student attention and learning,” said Matayoshi. “An adult’s desire to vape with flavors does not override the harm being done to a generation of kids, many of whom will be addicted for the rest of their lives. If an adult wants to use vaping to quit smoking, they can still do so with a flavorless or tobacco-flavored vaping product.”

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The bill bans retailers from selling, offering for sale, and possessing with the intent to sell or offer for sale any flavored tobacco products other than a tobacco flavor. It also bans the mislabeling of nicotine products as “nicotine-free.” Violations will come with fines no less than $500 and no more than $2,000.

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The House agreed to the Senate amendments in the bill this week avoiding the need for a conference committee hearing.  The bill does create an exception for Premarket Tobacco Product Applications, inserted by the Senate, but Matayoshi has committed to trying to remove this exception next session.

“It’s not a perfect bill, but it is certainly a step in the right direction and better than the status quo of no flavored vaping regulation,” said Matayoshi.  “It will take nearly all flavored tobacco products off the market now, and that is an opportunity we cannot pass up.” The bill has been sent to the Governor for his signature.

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