Effort is underway on the Big Island to address the problem of tobacco companies targeting our keiki

The Hawaii County Council’s Committee on Health, Safety and Well-Being met on December 5 to hear Bill 102, which would restrict the sale of flavored tobacco products.

The committee voted to move the bill forward to the full council for consideration at its next meeting (in January on a date still yet to be scheduled). The committee vote was 7 in favor, 1 opposed and 1 excused. The bill passed “clean” without any tobacco products being exempted from the proposed flavor restrictions.


hero_image_alt_text===A table full of different types of flavored vape devices
thumbnail_alt_text===A table full of different types of flavored vape devices

A tougher discussion of the bill is expected at the full Council meeting hearing in January where the tobacco industry’s representatives are expected to make their case for exempting what they term as “adult” products and possibly menthol products. It is important to note that while flavors are used in tobacco products to entice first time users to addiction, flavors like menthol are also used by the industry to make it harder for adult users to quit.

If it passes it would only take effect after the state legislature’s repeal of its preemption of counties taking action on tobacco sales. We have been working to repeal the preemption law and we appreciate the counties who have been outspoken proponents of home rule on this issue. We hope that if the council passes a comprehensive bill, that means all products all flavors, the legislature, during its 2024 legislative session, will consider returning local control on this issue to the counties. 

Watch for advocacy alerts from Grace Henscheid for opportunities to message support for the bill to the Council members before the next hearing.


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