Hawaii’s AG joins push to regulate e-cigarette use

e-cigarettes

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Its popularity is growing, but so are the concerns over the lack of regulation of e-cigarettes. They’re battery-operated devices, which heat liquid nicotine into a vapor.

“We believe that the FDA, the Federal Drug Administration, has the power to regulate tobacco and they just haven’t done so in this area, so we want them to do that,” State Attorney General David Louie said.

Louie, along with 39 other attorney generals, are urging the FDA to place restrictions on the advertising and ingredients of the devices.

“We need to make sure they don’t market to kids. We need to make sure that they don’t put in these sweet flavorings. We need to make sure that they control how this is marketed, so it does not just become another method for getting addictive substances into people’s hands,” Louie said.

Louie says e-cigarette manufacturers are using marketing tactics similar to those used by tobacco companies to attract new smokers, especially kids.

While Hawaii passed a law this year prohibiting the sale of e-cigarettes to minors, there is no federal regulation that prevents children from purchasing them.

“We’re very concerned that this will lead to smoking,” Louie said.

But the University of Hawaii Cancer Center says that e-cigarettes may actually do the opposite.

“I think we can’t completely overlook the fact that some people are using them to try to quit smoking. We don’t want to discourage people from trying to quit because we know for a fact that real cigarettes are extremely deadly,” said Dr. Thaddeus Herzog, UH Cancer Center.

Dr. Herzog is conducting a study on whether or not e-cigarettes are effective in helping smokers to quit. Although he says the long-term effects of e-cigarettes are still unknown, he also agrees that regulation of the ingredients used in the product is needed.

“Right now, the e-cigarettes are sold. Nobody really knows exactly what’s in them,” Dr. Herzog said. “So that’s one thing that pretty much everybody agrees upon.”

“We just want to make sure the proper safeguards are there and that it is regulated,” Louie said.

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Act 227: §709-908 Tobacco[;] and electronic smoking devices prohibited; minors. (1) It shall be unlawful to sell or furnish tobacco in any shape or form, including chewing tobacco and snuff, or an electronic smoking device to a minor under eighteen years of age.
(2) Signs using the statement, “The sale of tobacco products or electronic smoking devices to persons under eighteen is prohibited”, shall be posted on or near any vending machine in letters at least one-half inch high and at or near the point of sale of any other location where tobacco products or electronic smoking devices are sold in letters at least one-half inch high.
(3) It shall be unlawful for a minor under eighteen years of age to purchase any tobacco product, as described under subsection (1)[.], or an electronic smoking device, as described under subsection (5). This provision does not apply if a person under the age of eighteen, with parental authorization, is participating in a controlled purchase as part of a law enforcement activity or a study authorized by the department of health under the supervision of law enforcement to determine the level of incidence of tobacco or electronic smoking devices sales to minors.
(4) Any person who violates subsection (1) or (2), or both, shall be fined $500 for the first offense. Any subsequent offenses shall subject the person to a fine not less than $500 nor more than $2,000. Any minor under eighteen years of age who violates subsection (3) shall be fined $10 for the first offense. Any subsequent offense shall subject the violator to a fine of $50, no part of which shall be suspended, or the person shall be required to perform not less than forty-eight hours nor more than seventy-two hours of community service during hours when the person is not employed and is not attending school.
(5) For the purposes of this section:
“Electronic smoking device” means any electronic product that can be used to simulate smoking in the delivery of 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 cartridge or other component of the device or related product.”

§328J- Placement of cigarettes and tobacco products. (a) Except as otherwise provided under this section, a retailer may sell cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, and all other tobacco products only in a direct, face-to-face exchange between the retailer and the consumer. Examples of methods of sale that are not permitted include vending machines and self-service displays.
(b) This section shall not apply to:
(1) A duty-free sales enterprise selling duty-free merchandise in accordance with the provisions of Title 19 United States Code section 1555(b), and any implementing regulations; and
(2) Retail tobacco stores, bars, or any other establishment for which the minimum age for admission is eighteen.

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