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Youth Inspire Hawai‘i County Flavor Ban

The Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Hawai‘i Island fully understands that Hawai‘i County has a youth vaping epidemic. As one part of the solution, the Coalition worked to introduce a bill that would end the sale of flavored tobacco products on Hawai‘i Island. Flavored tobacco products have become a significant concern, with sweet, candy-like flavors often enticing young individuals to start vaping. The introduction of Bill 102 seeks to curb the appeal of such products, addressing one of the root causes of this growing trend in youth tobacco use. 

Council Member Susan “Sue” Lee Loy, known for her unwavering commitment to community welfare, took a bold step in the fight against youth tobacco use. Recognizing the alarming statistics and the adverse impact of flavored tobacco products on our youth population, she has championed Bill 102 to create a safer and healthier environment for Hawaiʻi County’s youth. Council Member Lee Loy introduced Bill 102 in the Policy Committee on Health, Safety, and Well-Being on December 5, 2023. Youth advocates and community partners from all over the island came out to support and testify. 

Hawaiʻi Island Youth Academy members testified at all three Hawai‘i County Council hearings. Students from local schools submitted written testimony in favor of Bill 102. Youth shared how vaping has negatively affected family members, friends, fellow students, and the learning environment at school. Testimony from Hawaiʻi County youth informed council members that more than half of the student body regularly vape and drove the Hawaiʻi County Council members to come to a decision that was in the best interest of our Hawaiʻi youth. The Hawaiʻi County Council passed Bill 102 on January 10, 2024. After the hearing, members of the Hawai‘i County Council commended the youth for participating in the legislative process and admired their diligence in continuing to attend committee hearings. The youth of Hawaiʻi County rallied together to ensure that Bill 102 would pass. 

Mayor Mitch Roth signed the bill on January 24, 2024. Mayor Roth praised the youth’s tenacity in their work to pass the bill. However, to enact the ordinance, the counties will need to regain their authority to regulate the sale of tobacco products. The Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Hawai‘i will continue the work to restore the county’s authority to regulate the sale of tobacco products.

To get involved or for more information on the efforts of Tobacco Free Hawai‘i Island, please contact Kealoha Madriaga, West Hawai‘i Tobacco and HEAL Coalition Coordinator, at kealoha@hiphi.org or Jay Ihara, East Hawai‘i Tobacco-Free Coordinator, at jay@hiphi.org.

Kealoha Madriaga

Kealoha Madriaga

West Hawai‘i Tobacco and HEAL Coalition Coordinator
Jay Ihara

Jay Ihara

East Hawai‘i Tobacco-Free Coordinator
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