HONOLULU (KITV4) — A bill that would ban flavored vape products aims to protect children, but those in the industry say it would kill their business.
KITV-4 reports on the impact the bill banning flavored vapes would have in Hawaii. Volcano Vape Shop operates 16 stores on the islands and was started in 2009.
The Chief Operating Officer says, The bill takes things to the extreme because it prohibits the sale of flavored vapes which is 99.9 percent of all products sold in Hawaii.
Scott Rasak says, if the Bill becomes law, the industry and the millions of tax dollars it brings into our economy will go up in smoke. Scott Rasak from Volcano Vape Shop said, “We’re talking about 10s of thousands of adult users, who rely on these products hundreds of businesses. Thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in state tax revenues that literally will vanish if this measure passes.”
Rep. Scot Matayoshi (D) Kaneohe says, “We’re not banning vaping, we’re banning flavored vaping. So people who want to use vaping to get off of smoking cigarettes can still vape using non flavored vaping or tobacco flavored vaping if you smoke cigarettes, you should be used to that. It’s the flavored vaping that does target kids, cotton candy. sour patch kid flavored. Flavors that target kids, and since 95 percent of tobacco users start before the age of 21. We are trying to cut into that by banning flavored vaping.”
Many in the Vape Industry say a ban or prohibition on flavored vape products would create a dangerous black market. Scott Rasak of Volcano Vape Shop.
“Vaping products don’t disappear if you ban flavors, this is going to allow black market individuals to import them directly and sell them on the street , now you have no age verification at all and you have a huge problem with youth access.” Rep. Scot Matayoshi (D) Kaneohe adds, “Kids have little access to money especially when they are under 18 so, the ability of kids to buy a black market product is going to go way way down.”
Winter Nakanelua smokes up to three packs of cigarettes a day, she started vaping 10 years ago and saves at least $400 in a month from not buying cigarettes.
Winter Nakanelua is a Vape User and says, “Of course we don’t want our children doing it, but it helped me to kick that stink habit. It’s a bad habit. My kids are happy I vape instead of smoking cigarettes. They told me you stink mom. (laughs).
Manuel Menendez is a Vape User and stopped smoking because his mother told him about E-cigarettes “2 weeks after you stop, cough up all the stuff that is there in your lungs, all the tar, your girlfriend, doesn’t tell you smell like smoke when you get in the car. The walls don’t turn yellow from the cigarette smoke.”
For the bill to become law, the House will need to agree to the Senate Version of the bill by early next week. And if the House agrees, then the measure goes to the Governor for his signature. If the bill does pass in its current form, the law becomes effective on July 1 2022.