Governor Green Signs Important Tobacco Control Legislation

Culminating nine years of advocate efforts, the American Heart Association celebrated earlier this month when Hawaii Governor Josh Green, M.D.’s signature of Act 64 into law on June 6th.

thumbnail_alt_text===Gov. Green surrounded by people holding up a signed piece of legislation

The law adds e-cigarettes under the definition of tobacco products in the state’s existing tobacco tax law meaning that e-cigarettes and liquids will be taxed at 70% of wholesale price beginning            Jan. 1, 2024.

The law also requires that e-cigarette retailers obtain a tobacco tax license (which will make enforcement efforts against illegal sales to underage purchasers more effective) and restricts online sales of e-cigarettes and liquids to only those who obtain a tobacco sales license. That eliminates a loophole often used by underage online purchasers who use a false birthdate. E-cigarette purchases will now only be allowed at physical, tobacco sales licensed stores. The new law is viewed as an important first step toward addressing Hawaii’s youth vaping epidemic. The Association will continue to pursue legislation that restores counties’ ability to regulate tobacco sales (which was preempted by tobacco industry-supported state legislation in2018), restrictions on the sale of all added flavor tobacco products and increases in the state’s investment in community tobacco prevention, control and cessation programs.

Mahalo to the Association’s Hawaii Division Board of Directors, volunteer advocates and staff who worked hard to support passage of Act 64.

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