The first state to limit tobacco and electronic cigarette sales to people 21 and older is contemplating a new nicotine crackdown: outlawing flavored e-liquids and flavored tobacco to combat a spike in teenage vaping.
Hawaii would be the first state to adopt such a ban under a bill before the Legislature. San Francisco was the first U.S. city to do so.
The proposal would ban flavored e-cigarette liquids such as Maui Mango and Cookie Monsta, along with cloves and other flavored tobacco products, but it would exempt menthol cigarettes and vaping liquids.
Supporters aim to make e-cigarettes less alluring to teenagers as studies show increasing numbers of high school and middle school students are becoming addicted to nicotine through vaping.
“They look at cigarettes and they say, ‘Cigarettes are disgusting. Tobacco is disgusting,'” said Trish La Chica, an advocate and lobbyist for the Hawaii Public Health Institute. “So take away the cotton candy, take away the flavors that look like they belong in an ice cream shop, and they wouldn’t be attracted to start in the first place.”
Battery-powered e-cigarettes typically heat flavored nicotine solutions into an inhalable vapor. They’re more popular among teens than regular cigarettes, and most experts agree they’re less harmful than cigarettes because the vapors don’t contain tar and other cancer-causing byproducts of burning tobacco.
But there is virtually no research on the long-term effects of the chemicals in the vapor, some of which are toxic. And some researchers believe vaping will make kids more likely to take up cigarettes.
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