Legislatures in Hawaii are considering a bill that would ban flavored tobacco products throughout the entire state. This bill comes on the hills of legislation in other states that have taken on flavored tobacco products, including a prominent bill being considered in San Francisco [read more here].
This isn’t the first time a flavored tobacco product ban has been considered in Hawaii. Back in 2014, a bill was proposed but ultimately failed. If passed, this bill would make Hawaii the first U.S. state to ban flavored tobacco as other bills have tackled the issue within cities only. While the bill would cover all flavored tobacco products, the growing popularity of e-cigarettes and flavored e-liquids has inspired this latest bill. Advocates of this bill feel this piece of legislation could help combat youth use of tobacco products and nicotine addiction.
Menthol would not be included in the ban because the state’s House of Representatives Committee on Health believed that banning it would negatively impact the state’s tax revenue brought in my menthol cigarettes. According to committee chair Rep. John Mizuno, cigarette taxes fund many state initiatives including cancer research, community health centers, ambulances and hospital trauma centers.
Hawaii has been the testing bed for other legislation that later was pursued by other states, including becoming the first state to adopt a tobacco 21 law. Earlier this year, Hawaii’s Rep. Richard Creagan proposed a bill that would raise the age to buy cigarettes to 100 as a way to ban them in the state. The bill did not advance to a floor vote. In addition to the flavor ban, the state is also considering a bill that would tax e-cigarette products the same way as traditional combustible cigarettes.
Drafts of both bills have already been approved by the state’s Senate. They must now pass the House Committee on Finance by April 5, 2019 in order to be considered by the full House of Representatives in Hawaii.