THIRTIETH LEGISLATURE, 2020
STATE OF HAWAII
A BILL FOR AN ACT
RELATING TO FLAVORED TOBACCO PRODUCTS.
ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:
SECTION 1. The legislature finds that tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the United States and Hawai'i. Tobacco use is a serious public health problem in terms of the human suffering and loss of life it causes, as well as the financial burden it imposes on society and our healthcare system. Annually, $526,000,000 in health care costs are directly attributed to smoking in the State.
The legislature also recognizes that ninety-five per cent of all smokers start before the age of twenty-one. Eighty-one per cent of youth who have ever used a tobacco product report that the first tobacco product they used was flavored. Flavored tobacco products promote youth initiation of tobacco use and help young occasional smokers become daily smokers by reducing or masking the natural harshness and taste of tobacco smoke, thereby increasing the appeal of tobacco products.
Menthol, in particular, is used by the tobacco industry because it has a cooling and numbing effect and can reduce the throat irritation from smoking, thus making menthol cigarettes an appealing option for youth who are initiating tobacco use. Candy and fruit flavors improve the taste and reduce the harshness of tobacco products, making them more appealing and easier for beginners to try tobacco products and ultimately become addicted. The popularity of electronic cigarettes among youth is concerning, as these products contain nicotine. The United States Surgeon General noted in the 2016 report titled "E-Cigarette Use Among Youth and Youth Adults" that "[b]ecause the adolescent brain is still developing, nicotine use during adolescence can disrupt the formation of brain circuits that control attention, learning, and susceptibility to addiction."
The legislature further finds that while there has been a decline in the use of combustible cigarettes over the last decade, there has been a dramatic increase in the use of electronic smoking devices by Hawai'i's youth. Vaping in Hawai'i has reached epidemic levels. Between 2011 to 2015, the proportion of youth experimenting with electronic smoking devices increased six-fold among middle school youth and four-fold among high school youth. In 2017, twenty-seven per cent of middle school and forty-two per cent of public high school students tried electronic smoking devices. Today, sixteen per cent of middle school and more than a quarter of high school students vape. Current use of electronic smoking devices by county is even more problematic, with figures exceeding thirty per cent on the islands of Hawai‘i, Maui, and Kaua‘i. These rates are higher than the national average and demonstrate a disturbing trend of youth nicotine use and threaten the historic decline achieved in combustible cigarette use.
The legislature further finds that a 2009 federal law, the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, prohibited characterizing flavors, including fruit and candy flavorings, in cigarettes but did not ban menthol in cigarettes or the use of characterizing flavors in other tobacco products. Only cigarettes, roll-your-own tobacco, and smokeless tobacco are subject to regulation under this Act. The tobacco industry and electronic smoking device industry have since significantly increased the introduction and marketing of flavored non-cigarette tobacco products, especially electronic smoking devices. It is no coincidence that the number of electronic cigarette flavors have skyrocketed in recent years, with more than fifteen thousand five hundred unique e‑cigarette flavors identified in a 2018 study. Hawai'i has experienced the heightened promotion of vape products that offer candy and local flavors designed to appeal to the State's youth, such as candy, fruit, chocolate, mint, Kona coffee, Maui mango, Shaka strawberry, and Moloka'i hot bread. Additionally, many of the packages are designed to look like candies popular with children, such as Jolly Ranchers and Sour Patch Kids.
The legislature additionally finds that young people are disproportionately using flavored tobacco products, including menthol. According to the 2010 study Smoking and Tobacco Use in Hawaii, seventy-eight per cent of Native Hawaiian and Pacific islander adult smokers and forty-two per cent of Caucasian adult smokers consume menthol cigarettes. A 2008 study also indicated the high use of menthol cigarettes among Filipino adults. Conservative estimates noted in a 2011 paper suggest that over three hundred thousand deaths can be averted by the year 2050, if menthol cigarette smoking is eliminated.
Given the significant threat to public health posed by flavored tobacco products, including menthol, a growing number of jurisdictions, including San Francisco; Berkeley; Chicago; Minneapolis; and Providence, Rhode Island, have introduced and passed legislation to regulate the sale of flavored tobacco products. The legislature concludes that Hawai'i should also take steps to regulate these products to reduce tobacco-related health disparities and address the youth vaping epidemic.
Accordingly, the purpose of this Act is to prohibit the sale or distribution of all flavored tobacco products, including products with menthol, in the State.
SECTION 2. Chapter 712, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by adding a new section to part IV to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:
of flavored tobacco products; mislabeling as nicotine-free. (1)
Beginning January 1, 2021, it shall be unlawful for any retailer or any agents or employees
of the retailer to:
(A) Sell, offer for sale, or possess with the intent to sell or offer for sale, a flavored tobacco product; or
(B) Mislabel as nicotine-free, or sell or market for sale as nicotine-free, any e-liquid product which contains nicotine.
(2) A statement or claim directed to consumers or
the public that the tobacco product has or produces a characterizing flavor,
including but not limited to text, color, or images on the tobacco product's
labeling or packaging that is used to explicitly or implicitly communicate that
the tobacco product has a characterizing flavor made by a manufacturer or an
agent or employee of the manufacturer in the course of the person's agency or
employment, is prima facie evidence that the tobacco product is a flavored
(3) Any flavored
tobacco product found in the retailer's possession that is in violation of this
section shall be considered contraband, promptly seized, summarily forfeited to
the State, destroyed by law enforcement following the conclusion of an administrative
or judicial proceeding finding that a violation of this section has been committed
and shall not be subject to the procedures set forth in chapter 712A.
(4) Any retailer and any agents or employees of
the retailer who violate this section shall be sentenced to a fine not
exceeding $500. Any subsequent offenses
shall subject the offender to a fine of not less than $500 nor more than
(5) Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary,
any county may adopt a rule or ordinance that places greater restrictions on
the access to flavored tobacco products than provided for in this section. In the case of a conflict between the
restrictions in this section and any county rule or ordinance regarding access
to flavored tobacco products, the more stringent restrictions shall prevail.
(6) For the purposes of this section:
flavor" means a distinguishable taste or aroma, or both, other than
the taste or aroma of tobacco, imparted by a tobacco product or any byproduct
produced by the tobacco product.
Characterizing flavors include but are 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. A tobacco product shall not be determined to
have a characterizing flavor solely because of the use of additives or
flavorings or the provision of ingredient information in the absence of a
distinguishable taste or aroma, or both.
"Cigarette" means any
roll for smoking made wholly or in part of tobacco, irrespective of size and
shape and whether or not the tobacco is flavored, adulterated, or mixed with
any other ingredient, the wrapper or cover of which is made of paper or any
other substance or material except tobacco.
"Constituent" means any
ingredient, substance, chemical, or compound, other than tobacco, water, or
reconstituted tobacco sheet that is added by the manufacturer to a tobacco
product during the processing, manufacture, or packing of the tobacco product.
perceivable by either the sense of smell or taste.
device" means any electronic product that can be used to aerosolize and deliver
nicotine or other substances to the person inhaling from the device, including but
not limited to an electronic cigarette, electronic cigar, electronic cigarillo,
or electronic pipe, and any e-liquid, cartridge, or other component of the device
or related product.
"E-liquid" means any
liquid or like substance, which may or may not contain nicotine, that is
designed or intended to be used in an electronic smoking device, whether or not
packaged in a cartridge or other container.
The term "e-liquid" does not include prescription drugs;
medical cannabis or manufactured cannabis products; or medical devices used to
inhale or ingest prescription drugs, including devices sold at a licensed
medical cannabis dispensary.
"Entity" means one or
more individuals, a limited liability company, corporation, a partnership, an
association, or any other type of legal entity.
product" means any tobacco product that contains a constituent that
imparts a characterizing flavor.
"Labeling" means written,
printed, pictorial, or graphic matter upon a tobacco product or any of its
"Packaging" means a
pack, box, carton, or container of any kind, or if no other container, any
wrapping, including cellophane, in which a tobacco product is sold or offered
for sale to a consumer.
"Retailer" means an
entity who sells, offers for sale, or exchanges or offers to exchange for any
form of consideration tobacco products to consumers. The term "retailer" includes the
owner of a tobacco retail location.
"Tobacco product" means
any product made or derived from tobacco that contains nicotine or other substances
and is intended for human consumption or is likely to be consumed, whether smoked,
heated, chewed, absorbed, dissolved, inhaled, or ingested by other means. "Tobacco product" includes but is not
limited to a cigarette, cigar, pipe tobacco, chewing tobacco, snuff, snus, e-liquid,
or an electronic smoking device. "Tobacco
product" does not include drugs, devices, or combination products approved
for sale by the United States Food and Drug Administration, as those terms are defined
in the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.
"Tobacco retail location" means any premises where tobacco products are sold or distributed to a consumer, including but not limited to any store, bar, lounge, cafe, stand, outlet, vehicle, cart, location, vending machine, or structure."
SECTION 3. This Act does not affect rights and duties that matured, penalties that were incurred, and proceedings that were begun before its effective date.
4. If any provision of this Act, or the
application thereof to any person or circumstance, is held invalid, the
invalidity does not affect other provisions or applications of the Act that can
be given effect without the invalid provision or application, and to this end
the provisions of this Act are severable.
SECTION 5. New statutory material is underscored.
SECTION 6. This Act shall take effect on January 1, 2021.
Flavored Tobacco Products; Sale; Ban
Bans the sale of flavored tobacco products. Effective January 1, 2021. (SD1)
The summary description
of legislation appearing on this page is for informational purposes only and is
not legislation or evidence of legislative intent.