Strong & Proven Leadership
In 2012, the Coalition spent 60 percent of its activities towards and experienced a high level of success with protecting and maintaining tobacco-free policies. The bill aimed at weakening the smoke-free workplace failed and there were other successes towards increasing smoke-free beaches and parks and public housing.
Increased cessation services: The East Hawai‘i Coalition worked to secure Brief Tobacco Intervention Training as part of UH Hilo BSN curriculum.
Secondhand smoke: An advocate-led campaign resulted in a bill passing the state legislature that would prohibit smoking in public housing, but ended up being vetoed by Governor Abercrombie. Kauai County also attempted to tackle secondhand smoke with a bill to prohibit smoking at county beaches and parks, however the bill ultimately failed.
On the bright side, the City and County of Honolulu introduced a bill to prohibit smoking at parks and beaches which will be carried over and considered in 2013. We also continue to support an ongoing campaign by students to make all University of Hawai‘i campuses tobacco-free.
Taking on Tobacco Industry Marketing
The Coalition and it’s partner REAL worked with youth and adult advocates in support of bills that would eliminate self-service displays for all tobacco products and place restrictions on tobacco advertisements. This effort was not successful in 2012, but created a foundation for forward movement.
The importance of countering the tobacco industry’s practices of product placement at a child’s eye level and next to candy items and of requiring retail outlets to create a colorful “wall of tobacco advertising” as you enter the store must and will be addressed.
This is blatantly targeting youth to be replacement smokers and requires an ongoing educational campaign to inform lawmakers, youth and the general public. Don’t worry — we’re on it!
Creating Healthier Communities
Since the establishment of the Tobacco Settlement Fund in 1999, the Coalition and the State Department of Health have been working to reduce the harm of tobacco use in our state.
Hawai‘i has made great strides in lowering rates of cigarette use among both youth and adults, In fact, we’re well ahead of the population of the United States as a whole.
Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids reported that smoking rates Hawai‘i, in 2012, were 14.5 percent for Hawai‘i adults and 11.3 percent for Hawai‘i youth. (That’s compared to U.S. rates of 18 percent for adults and 20 percent for youth). Hawai‘i has consistently funded prevention and quit smoking programs and been ranked among the top states in its efforts to reduce the harm of tobacco use.
While great progress has been made, our work is not done.