2015 Annual Report


In policy work, patience is key. It’s very much the norm to go several years without a major legislative victory and then the stars align and there’s a windfall of good news. This year was one of those years!

In 2015, Hawai‘i became the first state in the nation to raise the age of sale on tobacco products to 21. Understanding that 95 percent of all adult smokers start smoking before age 21, the legislature took action to give the current and future generations a real shot at living tobacco-free. Special mention goes out to our military base commanders for supporting the law and agreeing to enforce it. The law goes into effect on January 1, 2016.

This legislative session also helped address the skyrocketing use of electronic smoking devices (ESDs) among youth. Not only does the new Age 21 law also apply to ESDs, making it much more difficult for youth to purchase them, but we also successfully added ESD use to Hawaii’s clean indoor air law. On January 1, 2016, ESD use will be prohibited in most places that smoking is.

With the hiring of our first-ever Communications Director, we have begun to more fully develop our HIPHI brand identity and have begun to rework our materials and build a new online presence. Our workload has also grown exponentially with the launch of our new project to tackle diabetes and heart disease. To help us manage the new workload, we have hired additional programmatic staff, including a Chronic Disease Prevention Director and Programs Assistant. We plan to hire island staff in 2016.

On the tobacco side, we hired a Youth Coordinator and started a Youth Council to ensure the next generation of public health leaders have a voice in our work. The Youth Council selected the Age 21 campaign as their legislative priority and lobbied state legislators during Kick Butts Day 2015. How wonderful that their first priority was victorious and will soon become law.

While the stars may have aligned this year, there is no question that this year’s victories are the result of the hard work and dedication of so many! Mahalo to all our partners and legislative champions for strengthening Hawaii’s standing as a national leader in public health. Onwards to 2016!

With Aloha,

2015 Goals

  • Expand the Age 21 requirement beyond Hawai‘i County.

  • Launch new efforts to fight diabetes and heart disease.

  • Educate the public about the public health risks of e-cigarettes.

  • Expand staff to support new programmatic work.

2015 Highlights

Raising the age. Hawai‘i became the first state in the nation to raise the legal age to sell or purchase tobacco products (including e-cigarettes) to 21. This was a crowning achievement for our public health community and could reap great rewards for the people of our state. According to the Surgeon General, 95 percent of all adult smokers start smoking before the age of 21. Delaying the age that youth begin using tobacco will reduce the risk that they will become regular smokers as they get older, leading to lower prevalence rates and saving millions of dollars in health care costs.

E-cigs now part of statewide clean indoor air law.  ESDs are now also included in Hawaii’s clean indoor air law, covering indoor spaces such as workplaces, restaurants and bars. The emissions from ESDs contains nicotine and cancer-causing chemicals and, like secondhand smoke produced by cigarettes, has no place in enclosed environments where others will be exposed.

HIPHI diversifies programmatic work and expands staff. In 2015, HIPHI began working on specific efforts to promote healthy eating and active living. This included promoting healthier food choices in retail environments, supporting efforts to increase and improve walkability and implement bike lanes, and worksite wellness. With the scope of work nearly doubling in size, HIPHI hired a Communications Director, Chronic Disease Prevention Director, Youth Coordinator, and a Programs Assistant to manage the new portfolio of work.

HIPHI recognized as full member of National Network of Public Health Institutes (NNPHI). Two years after beginning the process of becoming a public health institute, HIPHI was officially recognized as a full member and joins dozens of other institutes in advancing public health practice and improving population health.

Tobacco-Free Parks. Tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, are now prohibited in all Hawai‘i state parks .

Kick Butts Day and the New Youth Council

With the addition of a new Youth Coordinator, the Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Hawai‘i, a program of Hawai‘i Public Health Institute, launched the Youth Council to bring together young health-minded leaders. The new group collaborated on some key projects in 2015, including the national Kick Butts Day event where youth come together from across Hawai‘i and across America to stand up to Big Tobacco.

On Kick Butts Day 2015, youth learned how the tobacco industry specifically targets teenagers and how raising the age of sale to buy tobacco products to 21 could counter that. After some advocacy training, the youth rallied at the State Capitol in support of raising the age of sale on tobacco products to 21. Dozens of youth advocates in “Raise The Age” t-shirts met with their legislators to make the case that this legislation should become law. And it did!

2015 Board of Directors


Stacy Evensen, Chair

Keawe’aimoku Kaholokula, Vice Chair

Don Weisman, Secretary

Kent Kasaoka, Treasurer


Joy Barua

Forrest Batz

Clifford Chang

Christopher Goodin

Maile Goo

John Hunt

Hye-ryeon Lee

Brian Mih

Napua Spock

Mahalo to Our Donors

Major Funders

Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

Hawai‘i State Department of Health

Hawai‘i Community Foundation, Tobacco Prevention and Control Trust Fund

National Association of Chronic Disease Directors

University of Hawaiæi, Office of Public Health Studies


Cal Basketball League (c/o Greydon T Espinda)

The Advocates (Robert & Lynne Toyofuku)

Valley Isle Dumping Inc.


Gold Supporter $250-999

Forrest Batz

Marilyn Gagen

Michael Robinson

Silver Supporter $100-249

Stephanie Austin

Steven Bradshaw

Rey Cabusora

Sandra & Chester Kasaoka

Jean Marie Kokhanovski

Keawe’aimoku Kaholokula

Carolyn Lee

Mark Levin

Josh Levinson

Joan Takemori

Jessica Yamauchi

Valerie Yontz

In-Kind Services or Goods

Anthology Marketing Group

Aston, Hunt, Floyd & Ing

Kent Kasaoka CPA

91% of your contributions go directly to programs, trainings and advancing policy across the islands!


Bronze Supporter $50-99

Sally Ancheta

Brian Birch

John Hunt

Ron Kuriki

Julian Lipsher

Jaylen Murakami

Kim Nguyen

Judith Stitley

Don Weisman

Deborah Zysman

Friend $5-49

David Abitbol

Jessica Berkemeier

Valerie Chang

Rebecca Gardner

Joseph Humphry

Edna Ishikawa

Kent Kasaoka

Kanani Kilbey

Lorraine Lunow-Luke

Ruth Leau

Sonya Niess

Linda Reedy

Colby Takeda