We are in the midst of a youth vaping epidemic. In Hawai‘i, one in three high school students and one in five middle school students report “current use” of e-cigarettes.
With 8 in 10 kids starting with a flavored tobacco product, a major way to address young people’s use of tobacco products, including e‑cigarettes, is to prohibit the sale of flavors that attract youth in the first place and discourage them from trying these products. This legislation will remove the thousands of fruit and candy‑flavored tobacco products, as well as menthol cigarettes, that are addicting our keiki.
TAKE ACTION NOW:
Public hearings are an opportunity for the public to weigh in on bills being considered by lawmakers. Submitting testimony for these hearings is an important way to let lawmakers know your position on these important issues. All you need to do is share why you are in strong support (we have some talking points below to get you started!). Each hearing may have different lawmakers, so you must submit testimony each time there is a new hearing.
Bill: HB 551, HD1
Committee: House Committee on Finance
Date/Time: Friday, February 24, at 3:30 PM
How to Submit Testimony
- Log-in/make an account on the Capitol website.
- Go to the page for HB 551 HD1 and click on the “Submit Testimony” button.
- Upload or write your testimony in SUPPORT of HB 551 HD1 (It doesn’t need to be long!).
- Please submit testimony by 3:30 PM on Thursday, February 23, to ensure your testimony is received on-time and reviewed by the committee members!
- Flavors in tobacco products entice youth, while the nicotine keeps them hooked for life. In 2020, 8 in 10 youth who currently use e-cigarettes reported using a flavored product, up from 7 in 10 in 2019 (National Youth Tobacco Survey). Ending the sale of flavored tobacco products will reduce the appeal of these products and protect our keiki from a lifetime of addiction.
- Menthol is just as, if not more, harmful than any other flavor in tobacco. Notorious for its ability to mask the harshness of tobacco, menthol makes it easier to start and harder to quit. If our aim is to protect our keiki and reduce the burden of tobacco in our communities, we must include menthol.
- Ending the sale of all flavored tobacco will advance health equity – disparities in tobacco use are due to the tobacco industry’s history of marketing menthol cigarettes to youth and people of color. In Hawai‘i, 78% of Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander smokers use menthol cigarettes (Hawai‘i BRFSS, 2008). Mint and menthol flavored e-cigarettes are one of the most popular flavors among youth.