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NEWS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 20, 2019
CONTACT: Brian Birch, 775-848-4660 (c) or 808-591-6508, ext. 4

Youth Advocates Rally At State Capitol With A Message For Big Tobacco: Stop Targeting Us!

First lady, lawmakers, and youth advocates push back against targeted marketing of vape products to kids

HONOLULU, March 20 — This afternoon, approximately 80 students rallied at the State Capitol to send a message to Big Tobacco on national Kick Butts Day: Stop Targeting Us. They were joined by First Lady Dawn Ige, Lieutenant Governor Josh Green, Senator Karl Rhoads, Senator Rosalyn Baker, Representative John Mizuno, Senator Karl Rhoads, and Rep. Scot Matayoshi.

Coordinated by Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Hawai’i (CTFH), a program of Hawai‘i Public Health Institute, the event brought together high school and college students from across the state who are fed up with Big Tobacco targeting them with clever marketing and fruit and candy flavors.

This year’s rally and press event focused on the need to pass legislation that would regulate vape products (SB1405) and end the sale and distribution of flavored tobacco products, including menthol (SB1009.)

“Talk to any young person and they will tell you how pervasive vaping is among their friends and peers,” said First Lady Dawn Ige.“And if our young people vaping isn’t scary enough, we now know that youth who vape are more likely to transition to regular cigarettes or end up both vaping and smoking.”

Research not only shows a high likelihood of dual-use among youth, but also that the highly-concentrated nicotine in e-cigarettes is a direct threat to the developing brain, interfering with thinking, behavior, and impulse control.

“Hawai’i teenagers are already vaping at epidemic levels, particularly in neighbor islands,” said Lieutenant Governor Josh Green. “Our lawmakers must take action now to protect our youth from a lifetime of tobacco use and nicotine addiction.”

Prohibiting flavors in tobacco products is the top priority for CTFH’s Youth Council members. In addition to today’s rally, they have been meeting with legislators and speaking to classrooms and assemblies of their peers about the dangers of vaping. Their message: the future health of young people who vape is not promising.

“We know that tobacco and vape companies are targeting us,” said Paige McCurdy, a senior at Kapolei High School. “Why else would they make flavors like Rocket Popsicle, Fruit Hoops, and Candy Krush? It has to stop.”

Learn more about how Flavors Hook Kids at https://flavorshookkidsHI.org

Learn more about Kick Butts Day at https://kickbuttsday.org

Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Hawai’i (CTFH) is a national trailblazer in reducing tobacco use through education, policy, and advocacy. 

Hawai‘i Public Health Institute, parent organization to CTFH, is a hub for building healthy communities, providing issue-based advocacy, education, and technical assistance through partnerships with government, academia, foundations, business, and community-based organizations.

MORE ON KICK BUTTS DAY

Kick Butts Day is a national day of activism that empowers youth to stand out, speak up and seize control against Big Tobacco.

Across the United States there will be more than 1,000 organized events where teachers, youth leaders, and health advocates will raise awareness of the problem of tobacco use in their community, encourage youth to reject the tobacco industry’s deceptive marketing and stay tobacco-free, and urge elected officials to take action to protect kids from tobacco.