Vaping products will soon be taxed like cigarettes in Hawaii
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - If you vape, prepare to pay more.
On Tuesday, Gov. Josh Green signed a measure into law that subjects e-smoking devices and e-liquids to the same tax rate as cigarettes in Hawaii.
Starting Jan. 1, those products will be taxed at a rate of 70%.
Previously, Hawaii had no tobacco tax imposed on e-cigarettes and e-liquids.
“The crisis of vaping disproportionately affects adolescents, especially high schoolers,” said Green at a bill-signing ceremony. “This bill will make it a lot more difficult for young people to get vaping products.”
According to Green, 1 in 3 of Hawaii’s high schoolers and 1 in 20 middle schoolers have used or are currently using e-cigarettes or vaping products.
“This is a public health issue,” said state Sen. Jarrett Keohokalole. “It’s a crisis in schools, and we’ve heard it year after year from our educators and from our school faculty.”
Advocates say the 70% tax will deter vaping use, especially among youth.
“It takes decades to make all the difference, and today was really a huge start,” said Green.
Hawaii has worked for years to limit youth access to vaping products.
In 2015, the state became the first in the nation to implement the Tobacco 21 policy, prohibiting anyone under 21 from possessing, consuming, or purchasing tobacco products in any form.
“We need to strengthen licensing and permitting laws and the exploitative sale of flavored tobacco products,” said youth advocate Joshua Ching. “On an even larger scale, we need to fight this problem at its roots, creating healthy communities where youth using big tobacco is an afterthought.”
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