The bill proposed by the lawmakers of Hawaii in March of this year, 2019, aimed for the statewide ban on selling any and every kind of e-juices with flavors.
The bill, coded Senate Bill SD2 HD2, picked up momentum quite rapidly, gaining bipartisan support, and quickly found itself in the House Committee of Finance.
For anyone who doesn’t know, the House Committee of Finance is the final filter through which a bill must pass through to be signed by Governor David Ige and become a legal law.
But the momentum was cut short when Sylvia Luke, the representative for the committee chairperson, settled in favor of deferment instead of an outright ban.
In place of the ban, the deferment worked a compromise that hardens sin taxes on e-cigarette, vaping devices, and all such vapor products. Also, the applicable fines if teens are found in possession of the aforementioned products are also increased.
The bill proposition stated that a statewide ban must be enforced that could practically exterminate a vendor’s right to sell “characterizing flavors.”
According to the proposal, these flavors are allegedly designed to appear attractive especially to teens and effectively encourage underage vaping of any kind. The bill list includes (but not limited to): alcoholic beverage, candy, cocoa, chocolate, coffee, dessert, fruit, honey, herb, mint, menthol, spice, vanilla, and wintergreen.
Since it says “allegedly,” the situation doesn’t have any evidence for, or against, flavored e-liquids. However, what we do have, and which have tragically been ignored by the Hawaiian politicians, is the potent figure of research that paints a clear enough picture to illustrate the obvious adverse effect a ban of such nature would have on smokers who’re trying to quit through vapor products.
Fortunately, Representative Luke relied her decision more on scientific facts than frantic calls from anti-vaping fanatics. She also admits that teen vaping is a complicated issue made more sensitive by political maneuvering.
Like Luke, quite a few of her colleagues have decided on scientific facts and voted in favor of deferment through strengthened tax regulations and increased financial fines.
We found out via ABC News that Scott Matayoshi is also in favor of the penalties and believes that they should work as deterrent enough for teens who’re finding a workaround to purchase vapor products.
Very recently, CSUR (Center for Substance Use Research) conducted a study that set out to find if sweet, fruity flavored e-juices are favored by adults in addition to teens or not. The result is quite conclusive: adults love “characterizing flavors” as much as youngsters if not more.
Dr. Christopher Russell, Deputy Director of CSUR, led the study at the participation of about 20,000 adult vapers. The study found that more than 70 percent of the participants favor their choice for sweet-fruit flavored e-juices over any other.
To get an in-depth understanding, let’s take a look at the specifics of the study result:
– The major figure, standing at exactly 76.4%, of the sample adult vapor product users has managed a complete transition from combustible tobacco cigarettes to e-cigarettes and are currently completely satisfied with refillable, reusable and rechargeable vaping devices.
– Of this majority, within a certain range of period, various flavors have gained (and once, lost) preference during their first purchases. To clarify, when an adult smoker first purchased their flavored e-juice, certain flavors gained precedence over others and this “first-time purchase preference” has changed (mostly increased) during the period range (2011 and between June of 2015 and June of 2016).
The flavors and their frequency shifts are as follows:
– Fruit flavor: from 17.8% to 33.5%
– Tobacco flavor: 46.0% to 24.0%. The preference has dropped by almost half.
– Fruit or fruit beverage: 73.9% to 82.9% of the total sample population.
– Dessert and pastry: 63.5% to 68.5% of the total sample population
– Candy, chocolate, and sweets: 48.7% to 53.4% of the total sample population.
The above mentioned are the most popular flavors among adult e-cigarette users/vapers.
Harm Reduction Journal published the CSUR study last summer. The impact of the flavored e-juices has on adult vapers is apparent, and any bill that suggests the banning of flavored vapor products and their sale risks the possibility of backfire: they might end up paving the way for further public health hazards.
It’s a logical possibility strengthened by common sense. Adult smokers who’re planning to quit tobacco using tobacco flavored vapor products as transition tools would be discouraged to quit at all if their ban is enforced.
Politicians who seek the betterment of their society through such unfounded claims end up harming the very public health they first set out to safeguard.