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Letter for Monday, May 16, 2022

Vaping bill is ineffective

For seven years a coalition of educators, pediatricians and health organizations have tried to pass a bill making flavored nicotine products less available to children in Hawai‘i.

In Hawai‘i, about 1/3 of teens use e-cigarettes or vaping products. This is about twice the national average. Kids like these products because they have fruit flavors, colorful packaging, and they think it makes them look cool to be vaping. The owners of the vaping companies, such as Juul, make sure to put nicotine in all these products so the kids will become addicted and become nicotine customers for life.

Legislation to limit fruit flavors in vaping products has been largely thwarted in our state Legislature. Could it be because vaping companies are largely owned by tobacco interests, and these same tobacco interests are big contributors to our state legislators’ reelection campaigns? The current version of the vaping bill has amendments supported by the tobacco lobby that would make the bill totally ineffective in keeping kids from getting the flavored nicotine vapes in Hawai‘i.

This bill, HB 1570, if signed by the governor, could prevent a truly effective bill from being introduced in future legislative sessions.

Robert S. Weiner, MD, Linda J. Weiner, MD, Kalaheo
Source: The Garden Island

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