Raising Age of Sale
95% of regular smokers began smoking before the age of 21. Raising the age of purchase of tobacco products to 21 years old will prevent many youth and young adults from starting to smoke and becoming regular or long-term users of tobacco products, including electronic smoking devices.
According to a recent independent poll, 78% of registered voters in Hawai`i support statewide smoke-free beaches and parks. Currently, 3 out of 4 counties in Hawai`i have passed either smoke-free or tobacco-free laws for their beaches and parks. The Coalition is currently working to expand these county laws into a consistent statewide policy.
Increasing Cigar Tax
Cigars are under-taxed and less regulated than cigarettes, but are addictive and contain toxic cancer-causing chemicals that are harmful to both smokers and nonsmokers. The Coalition is working to protect and increase the taxes on cigar products to keep them out of the hands of price-sensitive youth.
THE TOLL OF TOBACCO ON HAWAI’I
GET THE FACTS
The CDC recommends raising the minimum age of sale for tobacco products to 21 to reduce tobacco use among youths. Increasing the sale age will help to counter tobacco companies’ efforts to target young people. It is estimated that raising the age to 21 would add 4.2 million more years of life to the next generation of American adults. Tobacco use is a lethal and addictive behavior, not a rite of passage or a sign of adulthood.
- Courtesty of Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights:
- Public Heath Law Center – Smoke-Free Tobacco-Free Places Outdoors
- Tobacco-Free Youth Recreation: Tobacco-Free Parks Materials
- Tobacco Control Network: Enforcement of tobacco-free parks
- Cigarette Butt Pollution Project
TAXES ON CIGARETTES
In the U.S., tobacco use kills more than 400,000 people every year – more than AIDS, alcohol, car accidents, illegal drugs, murders and suicides combined. Research shows that higher cigarette taxes are an effective means to reduce smoking among adults and youth. Hawai`i ranks 5th in the nation with a cigarette tax of $3.20 per pack. The Coalition works to protect our cigarette taxes to reduce youth and adult smoking rates in Hawai`i.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Current Cigarette Smoking Among Adults in the United States
- Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids – U.S. State and Local Taxes
TAXES ON OTHER TOBACCO PRODUCTS
Hawai`i currently taxes other tobacco products such as chewing tobacco at a lower rate than cigarettes. In an independent poll, 75% of respondents in Hawai`i favored taxing other tobacco products at the same rate as cigarettes. The Coalition works to increase taxes on other tobacco products to achieve parity with cigarette taxes and discourage consumption of these products, especially for youth who are 2-3 times more sensitive to price increases than adults.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
TAXES ON CIGARS
Cigars are under-taxed and less regulated than cigarettes, but are addictive and contain toxic cancer-causing chemicals that are harmful to both smokers and nonsmokers. Cigar smoking is increasing in the U.S. and Hawai`i where 4.9% of public high school students report currently using cigars and 14% are experimenting with cigars. The Coalition is working to protect and increase the taxes on cigar products to keep them out of the hands of price-sensitive youth.
- Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Cigars
Electronic smoking devices (ESDs or e-cigarettes) do emit an aerosol which contains nicotine, ultra-fine particles, and toxic chemicals including formaldehyde, lead, nickel, and acetaldehyde, all of which are known to cause cancer, birth defects, and other reproductive harm. ESDs are NOT approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as a smoking cessation device. In Hawaii, sales of ESDs tripled for high school students from 2011-2013 and usage rates for Hawaii’s youth are double the national average. Regulating ESDs will reduce our children’s exposure to nicotine and other toxic chemicals.
“Here is the bottom line: These results suggest that soluble components of e-Cig, including nicotine, case dose-dependent loss of lung endothelial barrier function, associated with oxidative stress and brisk inflammation… the clinical observations that e-cigarette use is followed by an immediate drop in lung function comparable to that seen in cigarette smokers.”
Government funding for community programs like the Hawai`i Tobacco Quitline, Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Hawai`i and tobacco cessation and prevention programs has decreased in the past decade. More support is needed to ensure a smoke-free Hawai`i.