HONOLULU — The state House Committee on Consumer Protection and Commerce and the state Senate Commerce, Consumer Protection and Health Committee will hold an informational briefing on the youth vaping epidemic at 10 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 17, in room 309 at the State Capitol.
Youth vaping is a serious public health issue, and recently there has been a dramatic increase in use of electronic smoking devices by Hawaii’s youth, a press release said.
Only 4.7% of Hawaii adults report use of electronic smoking devices as compared to 26 percent of public high school students, with numbers up to 34% for the neighbor islands. The national vaping average is 13%.
Overall, U.S. youth vaping surged 78% in just one year, between 2017 and 2018.
The lack of federal regulation has allowed the tobacco industry and electronic-smoking-device industry to significantly increase the introduction and marketing of flavored non-cigarette tobacco products, especially electronic smoking devices. The U.S. Surgeon General, Food &Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control have since urged states to take action.
“They are prompting state and local jurisdictions to protect children from a lifetime of nicotine addiction and associated health risks by immediately addressing the epidemic of youth e-cigarette use,” the release said.
Hawaii has experienced a heightened promotion of vape products that offer candy and local flavors specifically designed to appeal to the state’s youth, the release said.
These flavors include candy, fruit, chocolate, mint, Kona coffee, Maui mango, shaka strawberry, and Moloka‘i hot bread.
Many of the packages are designed to look like popular kids’ candies, such as Jolly Ranchers and Sour Patch Kids.
In this informational briefing, Hawaii speakers will give presentations on the growing local and national problem associated with youth e-cigarette use, and two experts will speak on the current commerce, regulation and policy trends of flavored tobacco and menthol and its effects on public health, especially as they relate to youth.