A new bill that was introduced to the Hawaii Senate earlier this month, if passed, will limit the locations available to vape shops and tobacco shops alike.
The bill, S.B. 2304, was introduced to the Senate by six state senators who cited youth health concerns in their rationale for the newly proposed regulations on where shop owners can operate.
If passed, vape and tobacco shops would need to be, at a minimum, 750 feet away from schools, public parks, and public housing complexes. In other words, if we’re to take the bill and its endorsers at face value, buffer zones would be created across the state in a bid to protect youths from exposure to tobacco, nicotine, and vape related products.
Youth Health Concern
In Hawaii, the tobacco industry spends over $24 million a year on marketing. The vaping industry, in 2014 alone, spent an estimated $115 million on marketing, the bill’s authors claim. That’s a considerable amount of marketing that the bill’s authors seem to cite in light of the potential for such marketing efforts to influence the state’s youth. But first and foremost, the bill’s authors take note of a 2008 study which found smoking rates for students to be higher at schools in relatively close proximity to tobacco retailers.
Citing a 2015 report from the Hawaii Youth Risk Behaviors Survey, the bill’s authors noted what they referred to as “concerning” data regarding the rate at which the state’s youth are using tobacco products and electronic cigarettes. According to the data, 25 percent of the high school students surveyed indicated that they had used a vaporizer, such as an electronic cigarette, within the last 30 days from the time at which they reported.
The Impact On Vapers
In perhaps what is an unintended consequence of the bill, the newly proposed regulations may hamper industry growth for both the smoking and vaping industries alike.
And for former smokers who are trying to use vaping as a means by which to quit smoking, it may also have the unintended consequence of reducing access to the smoking cessations (vape supplies) that they’re using in an attempt to quit smoking.