Hawaii health officials applaud ban on Juul e-cigarettes amid push to combat teen vaping rates
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - State Health Department officials applauded the FDA decision Thursday to ban Juul electronic cigarettes, in what’s being seen as the latest blow to a company blamed for sparking a national surge in teen vaping.
“We applaud the FDA taking this action,” said Lola Irvin, DOH Chronic Disease Prevention & Health Promotion Division administrator. “The Department of Health has been concerned about the really high use rates in Hawaii.”
Federal regulators said its actions were based on what the agency called insufficient and conflicting company data about potentially harmful chemicals that could leach from Juul’s e-liquid pods.
“With e-cigarettes, they are not harmless,” said Irvin.
“Nicotine can actually help rewire the brain, it’ll prime it for addiction to other substances,” she added.
Those in the vaping industry worry about what the FDA will ban next.
“Honestly, I think it’s ridiculous and I know my customers can agree with me on that,” said Ethan Quenga, employee at Hawaii’s Cheapest Vapes.
“With that brand, we haven’t carried it, but it does affect us because it looks like that’s what we are going to head toward.”
He added, “I don’t think it’ll make a big difference with that in terms of trying to get kids to quit.”
State health data from 2019 showed that more than 30% of Hawaii public high schoolers use vapes.
A bill banning the sale of flavored vaping products passed the state Legislature this year and is awaiting a decision by the governor. The state Health Department, meanwhile, says it has no authority to regulate the FDA’s ban on Juul so it’s up to the retailers to contact the company about the inventory on store shelves.
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