E-Cigarettes exempt from bill ban

Published: Feb. 11, 2014 at 11:54 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - It was a victory for e-cigarette advocates, if only temporary.

"For the here and now, all e-cigarettes are exempt from 2222." State Senator Clayton Hee was referring to Senate Bill 2222, which in its original language would have banned the sale of all flavored tobacco products in the state, like menthol cigarettes.

Since all e-cigarette products are flavored, the bill would have served as an industry-wide ban.

E-cigarette advocates wanted the State to separate their product from traditional tobacco cigarettes.

"I feel like the state is trying to take a square peg and stick it in a round hole" said Volcano brand e-cigs Owner and CEO Cory Smith. Case in point is Ernie Brewer, an e-cigarette user.

"I'm diabetic, type 2, and I use the e-juices because they don't have the calories and they don't have the sugar content that food has". He uses the vapors that do not have nicotine in them, yet under the original language, the product of his choice would be banned.

Legislators candidly said their intent wasn't to ban users like Brewer from partaking, but to keep nicotine and tobacco from children. Because of the differences between the two products, they made the decision to exempt e-cigarettes.

"Rather than try to complicate the subject matters, the committee chairs--Senator Baker and I, felt it would be better to take it out completely and then work on e-cigarettes as a stand-alone product" said Senator Hee.

Lawmakers say they are still looking at ways to control the use of e-cigarettes.

"Technically speaking it's not regulated at all, so a minor could come in there and buy an e-cig off you. There's no regulation on the valves so they could be taking a high dose of nicotine that's highly addictive and poisonous," said State Senator Maile Shimabukuro.

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