Hawaii Vape Retailers Oppose Proposed E-Cigarette, Store-Bought, Nicotine Flavor Ban
News Release from Volcano ECigs, October 17, 2019
HONOLULU, HI – The Hawaii vapor retail market is estimated to contain 500 retailers and up to 5000 employees/contractors who support the market of approximately 50,000 adult vapers in the state. Currently, the minimum age to purchase nicotine vapor products in Hawaii is 21 and older.
The Hawaii Department of Health has expressed concern over the illegal use of youth who have tried nicotine vaping as a result of the 2017 Hawaii’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) citing “epidemic” usage levels. This issue touches on two different recent developments. The first of which is the recent outbreak of lung illnesses largely attributed to black market THC cartridge usage of which 1,300 cases and 26 deaths have been reported nationally. The second is a proposed ban on flavored nicotine vapor products by DOH officials to combat youth usage.
“We must not allow the intense focus on teen use – warranted though it is – to divert almost all attention from the benefits of vaping for adult smokers who are dying at the rate of 480,000 per year from a terrible habit.” stated Sally L. Satel MD, Resident Scholar American Enterprise Institute.
A Hawaii ban on legally purchased nicotine vape flavors is irrelevant to the outbreak of lung disease. Eliminating flavored nicotine e-liquids will not prevent further cases of lung disease because those products have not been proven to be the sole cause of the outbreak. The FDA released a warning on October 4, 2019 advising consumers not to use THC vaping carts obtained from illicit black-market suppliers 2 and that message is not getting communicated to those most at risk.
Store-bought nicotine vape flavors, especially fruity ones, are a key element of the appeal of vaping to adult smokers. Fruit and candy flavors, which were initially created in do-it-yourself fashion by independent vapers,3 are in great demand by adults and thus now dominate the market.4 In 2018, the largest flavor preference survey of adult vapers in the United States found fruit and dessert flavors to be the most popular by far; only a minority of the nearly 70,000 participants used tobacco flavors, and their use has decreased over time.5
“Here in Hawaii, VOLCANO provides FDA registered, professionally, and responsibly manufactured vape liquids to legal adults over the age of 21. Over 95% of the liquids we sell are flavors other than tobacco because that’s what our adult customer base demands and wants. Enacting a flavor ban would certainly put us out of business and push the tens of thousands of local consumers who use these products as an alternative to cigarettes back to the tobacco market or worse, to the illicit black market where there is no oversight and incalculably higher risk. This is directly evidenced by the recent lung illness health outbreak which has been largely attributed to black market THC products by the FDA and other reputable sources like the Department of Health in New York, which recently stated nearly all lung illness cases are directly the result of black market THC cartridges 6” said Cory Smith, Owner and Co-Founder of VOLCANO eCigs.
More recently, the New York State Department of Health just stated that “just about all” vaping related illnesses are from Black Market THC products obtained off the street.
“Recent analysis from 2018, using data from the FDA and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that e-cigarettes emit only a fraction of the exposure of known tobacco-related toxicants that result from cigarette smoking 7. Some toxicants are present in much lower levels in e-cigarette aerosol while others are completely undetectable 8. Removing this life changing product from the market or severely limiting access to it will only harm the public health and push consumers back to smoking” said Gregory Conley, President of the American Vaping Association (AVA).
“Vaping is now the most popular 9 and successful 10 product for quitting smoking relative to traditional nicotine replacement therapies and in response to the prediction that the 11- 14 million vapers have “re-normalized” smoking in America, reassurance is at hand; the U.S. adult smoking rate is at 14 percent 11, the lowest level ever recorded. In addition, youth usage is also at the lowest level ever, debunking the fact that youth vaping leads to smoking. It’s time public health starts telling the truth about these products and embraces their harm reduction potential” said Mark Anton, Executive Director of the Smoke Free Alternatives Trade Association (SFATA).
VOLCANO eCigs is the largest wholesaler, distributor and retailer of e-cigarettes in the state of Hawaii. They have been in business since 2009 and have 15 locations statewide and employ 100 people in Hawaii.
1) See also https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/e-cigarettes-and-heated-tobacco-productsevidence-review and excellent lecture by Lynne Dawkins PhD https://www.clivebates.com/lynnedawkins-e-cigarettes-an-evidence-update/
3) Russell C, McKeganey N, Dickson T, Nides M. Changing patterns of first e-cigarette flavor used and current flavors used by 20,836 adult frequent e-cigarette users in the USA. Harm Reduct J. BioMed Central; 2018 Jun 28;15(1):33.
4) Russell C, McKeganey N, Dickson T, Nides M. Changing patterns of first e-cigarette flavor used and current flavors used by 20,836 adult frequent e-cigarette users in the USA. Harm Reduct J. BioMed Central; 2018 Jun 28;15(1):33.https://harmreductionjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12954- 018-0238-6
6) Goniewicz ML, Smith DM, Edwards KC, et al., Comparison of Nicotine and Toxicant Exposure in Users of Electronic Cigarettes and Combustible Cigarettes. JAMA Open Network, Dec. 14, 2008 at https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2718096
7) https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/e-cigarettes-and-heated-tobacco-productsevidence-review and excellent lecture by Lynne Dawkins PhD https://www.clivebates.com/lynnedawkins-e-cigarettes-an-evidence-update/
9) 4 Hajek P, et al.,. A randomized trial of e-cigarettes versus nicotine-replacement therapy. New England Journal of Medicine. 2019 Feb 14;380(7):629-637 at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30699054