Lawmakers consider new restrictions on e-cigarettes

They are showing up everywhere, the electronic cigarettes or e-cigarettes. They are touted by some as a stop-smoking alternative. And their popularity is growing.

“We have 11 retail stores and we currently employ over 100 full-time employees,” said Cory Smith of Volcano E-Cigs.

Customers like having the alternative to cigarettes.

“I think e-cigarettes are pretty good because they’re more friendly to people instead of smoking tobacco and stuff. Other than that, I don’t think they should ban it,” e-cigarette customer Juli Fujioka said.

But the legislature could ban e-cigs on several fronts. A handful of bills would eliminate flavored e-cigs.

“All electronic cigarette flavors or electronic e-liquids are flavored. None of them actually contain tobacco and so therefore, don’t have any of the flavors that you find in tobacco cigarettes. That’s the thing that’s most concerning for us with this bill,” Smith said.

Supporters of the anti e-cig legislation say the flavored vapors appeal to young people.

“No matter how you put it, if you really look at an e-cigarette, it’s like a toy. And so youth are going to be attracted to getting that toy and participating in the culture of e-cigarettes,” e-cigarette opponent Lleliena Loynaz said.

E-cig opponents are adamant about the potential attraction for young people.

“What we know about flavored tobacco products is that they entice young people to begin to smoke.  And that includes all combustible tobacco products and non-combustible tobacco products including electronic cigarettes,” said Dr. Pebbles Fagan of the University of Hawaii Cancer Center.

A handful of bills will be considered by the committee before a decision is made.

We’ll be following them throughout the session.

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