Local residents and leaders know how to solve local problems—because they see them up close. When they work together to come up with solutions, local leaders are able to address the issues facing their communities. When a state takes away power from the counties, a county needs to wait for the state to take action, instead of being able to enact policies that would immediately keep their communities healthy.
In 2018, Act 206 was passed, which took the ability away from the counties to regulate the sale of tobacco products. Since that time, there has been no meaningful statewide legislation to prohibit flavored tobacco product sales which has led to an increase in the number of youth who use e-cigarettes.
The counties need the ability to quickly address the health needs of their communities, and this bill gives that power back to the counties.
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.
How to Submit Testimony
- Log-in /make an account on the Capitol website.
- Go to the bill page for HB1778 and click on the “Submit Testimony” button.
- Upload or write your testimony in SUPPORT of the bill (It doesn’t need to be long!).
- Please submit testimony by Monday, February 12, at 2:00 PM (at least 24 hours in before the hearing) to ensure your testimony is received on-time and reviewed by the committee members! Late testimony will be accepted until the time of the hearing.
- Electronic smoking devices play a major role in the increased rates of youth nicotine addiction which was in decline.
- The counties are uniquely positioned to quickly address the health needs of their communities and have used that ability to great success, such as changing the age to purchase tobacco products to 21 years old, clean air laws, and smoke-free cars while keiki are present.
- The tobacco industry and its allies continue to use deceitful strategies to oppose smoke-free laws, youth access restrictions, regulations on advertisements and promotions, and retailer licensing restrictions at the state level to more easily maintain control over tobacco regulation.
- Counties regulating the sale of tobacco products can reduce the overall use of tobacco in their communities, improve public health, and reduce healthcare costs associated with tobacco-related illnesses.
- Amending HRS §328J-11.5 to reauthorize counties to regulate the sale of tobacco products opens up the possibilities for innovative policies at the local level and to find new and effective ways to address the public health challenges posed by tobacco use.