I hope you, your family, and friends are doing well. I wanted to let you know the American Heart Association is deeply concerned about the public health crisis facing our country. Our top priority regarding coronavirus (COVID-19) is the health and well-being of individuals and their families today and in the future, in every community, everywhere.
Millions of people are counting on us for science-based information, health resources, community programs and patient support. We are continuing our mission-critical work in these challenging times and we know that people with cardiovascular diseases are more likely to be seriously impacted by the virus than others.
hero_image_alt_text===A picture of the Hawaii state capitol building
thumbnail_alt_text===A picture of the Hawaii state capitol building
With that in mind I wanted to give you an update on where we are and where we are going in Hawaii with our critical advocacy work.
The Hawaii legislature emergency recessed for at least 8 weeks starting on March 16 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While the exact timeline for the end of that emergency recess is unclear, the Legislature does plan to reconvene the 2020 session eventually. In the interim legislators continue to work virtually to support their constituents’ needs. And the American Heart Association and its volunteer advocates continue our work (virtually) on addressing the youth vaping crisis in our state. Before the legislature recessed there were two bills moving on which the American Heart Association was focused.
- HB 2457, HD2 - Would remove all flavored tobacco products, including mint and menthol, from the market in the state. Eighty percent of tobacco users report starting with a flavored product so this should make a big impact if passed.
- SB 2227, SD2, HD1 - Would restrict online shipment of e-cigarette products except to licensed tobacco retailers and enact other regulations to bring parity between traditional tobacco products and e-cigarettes and make e-cigarettes less accessible to underage users. It is already illegal to ship traditional tobacco products and by adding flavored vape products to the restriction list it will help keep these items out of the hands of underage purchasers.
We will be in touch when we have more news to share, thank you for your support!