I am a title 03

February 27, 2019

KEY POINTS: 

  • SB 1009 bans characterizing flavors including, but not limited to, “tastes or aromas relating to any candy, chocolate, vanilla, honey, fruit, cocoa, coffee, dessert, alcoholic beverage, menthol, mint, wintergreen, herb, or spice.

  • The bill intends to “reduce tobacco-related health disparities and address the youth vaping epidemic.

  • Data from the “2018 National Youth Tobacco Survey and the “2018 Monitoring the Future Survey” found an increase in the number of youth who say they vape more than one time per month, but this is a misleading figure because it doesn’t make clear whether a person had, for example, vaped twice and then never vaped again or vaped multiple times per day each day of the month.

  • Flavors are necessary to tobacco harm reduction.

    • A 2016 CASAA survey of 27,343 adult e-cigarette users found 72 percent of respondents “credited tasty flavors with helping them give up tobacco.”

    • A 2018 survey of nearly 70,000 American adult vapers found that flavors played a vital role, with nearly 95 percent of respondents reporting “the were ever smokers.”

  • Hawaii is also home to more than 36,000 active duty military members. Historically, military personnel smoke more than civilians.

    • In 2011, 24 percent of active duty personnel reported smoking, compared to just 19 percent of civilians.

    • Thanks to vaping, daily smoking rates for servicemen declined to just 7.4 percent in 2015, compared to 12.9 percent for the general population.

    • The same analysis found that 11.1 percent of service members were daily e-cigarette users, and in junior enlisted ranks, “nearly 20 percent are current e-cigarette users.”

  • Banning flavors in e-cigarettes would essentially eradicate tobacco harm reduction in Hawaii. As e-cigarettes are 95 percent safer than combustible cigarettes, their use could help reduce health care costs related to smoking, as well as improve local economies by providing new business opportunities.

Hawaii lawmakers introduced a proposal that would ban menthol cigarettes and flavors in tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes and vaping devices. SB 1009 bans characterizing flavors including, but not limited to, “tastes or aromas relating to any candy, chocolate, vanilla, honey, fruit, cocoa, coffee, dessert, alcoholic beverage, menthol, mint, wintergreen, herb, or spice.” The legislation also prohibits the sale of tobacco products “that are in violation of federal [U.S. Food and Drug Administration] labeling requirements or that market to children.”

The bill intends to “reduce tobacco-related health disparities and address the youth vaping epidemic.” Vaping among youth did increase from 2017 to 2018. However, such an extreme response to one year of data threatens the efficacy of a tobacco harm reduction tool that has helped millions of adult Americans quit smoking cigarettes.

Further, much of the data is inconclusive and relies on imprecise information. For example, the “2018 National Youth Tobacco Survey” and the “2018 Monitoring the Future Survey” found an increase in the number of youth who say they vape more than one time per month, but this is a misleading figure because it doesn’t make clear whether a person had, for example, vaped twice and then never vaped again or vaped multiple times per day each day of the month.

Additionally, the vaping industry has a long history of supporting efforts to restrict youth access to e-cigarettes. The Consumers for Smoke-Free Alternatives Association (CASAA) supports age restrictions and “urges strict enforcement of laws” and the Smoke Free Alternatives Trade Association provides “Age to Vape” signage to vape shops endorsing local laws.

Associations representing vaping manufacturers also enforce banning sales and marketing to minors. The American E-Liquid Manufacturing Standards Association (AEMSA) “advocates electronic cigarette products for adult use only.”  AEMSA supports a “ban on sales to minors.” The Vapor Technology Association requires members to “refrain from knowingly marketing Vapor Products to Minors, which is strictly prohibited.”

Moreover, flavors are a significant factor in helping people quit combustible cigarettes. A 2016 Consumers for Smoke-Free Alternatives Association (CASAA) survey of 37,343 e-cigarette users found 72 percent of respondents “credited tasty flavors with helping them give up tobacco.” A 2018 survey of nearly 70,000 American adult vapers produced similar results. Nearly 95 percent of the survey’s respondents reported “that they were ever smokers,” and many cited using flavors at the point of e-cigarette initiation.

Banning flavors would potentially harm the nearly three million American adults who have successfully used e-cigarettes to quit smoking. The figure could be significantly larger, as research finds e-cigarettes to be a more effective tool for cessation than traditional nicotine therapy. A 2019 study found e-cigarettes are “twice as effective as nicotine replacement at helping smokers quit.”

Hawaii is also home to more than 36,000 active duty military members. Historically, military personnel smoke more than civilians. In 2011, 24 percent of active duty personnel reported smoking, compared to just 19 percent of civilians. Thanks to vaping, daily smoking rates for servicemen declined to just 7.4 percent in 2015, compared to 12.9 percent for the general population. The same analysis found that 11.1 percent of service members were daily e-cigarette users, and in junior enlisted ranks, “nearly 20 percent are current e-cigarette users.” A flavor ban on e-cigarettes in Hawaii would almost surely negate this progress.

Banning flavors in e-cigarettes would essentially eradicate tobacco harm reduction in Hawaii. As e-cigarettes are 95 percent safer than combustible cigarettes, their use could help reduce health care costs related to smoking, as well as improve local economies by providing new business opportunities. Moreover, Hawaii’s large military population would be severely impacted because a ban would likely reverse the trend of declining smoking rates among service members. Lawmakers should promote the use of these products and oppose ludicrous bans that could vaporize the e-cigarette industry.

Nothing in this Research & Commentary is intended to influence the passage of legislation, and it does not necessarily represent the views of The Heartland Institute or Tobacco Harm Reduction 101.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram

©2020 by Tobacco Harm Reduction 101.