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Thursday, January 23, 2014
Tobacco Control? Hawaii Scores 'A' for Taxes and Regulation, 'D' for Prevention
By News Release @ 9:50 PM :: 5502 Views :: Hawaii Statistics, Health Care, Taxes

The State of Tobacco Control


News Release from American Lung Association



The American Lung Association in Hawaii continues its advocacy work to protect all Hawaiians from the deadly health effects of tobacco addiction and the harmful effects of secondhand smoke. The Lung Association continues its collaboration with the Coalition for Tobacco Free Hawaii on legislation and policies to increase tobacco taxes, to ensure adequate tobacco prevention and cessation program funding and to protect Hawaii's comprehensive law prohibiting smoking in virtually all public places and workplaces.

During the 2013 legislative session, coalition efforts were focused on legislation to ensure other tobacco products were taxed at a rate similar to cigarettes, creating tax parity. House Bill 492 was introduced to impose an excise tax equal to $3.20 per ounce of tobacco on each tobacco product, but unfortunately exempting large cigars. Some progress was made with this legislation as it was heard in the House Finance Committee. Since the legislation carries over to the 2014 legislative session, work will continue on it this year and will include increasing the cigarette tax rate and ensuring a portion of this revenue is directed to fund tobacco prevention and cessation programs.

Beginning in fiscal year 2015, the distribution of tobacco settlement funds for tobacco prevention and control will return to 6.5 percent after being redirected into the general fund to offset budget deficits for the past several years. The Lung Association and stakeholders worked diligently to ensure a portion of these tobacco settlement payments once again were used for efforts to prevent and reduce tobacco use.

In 2014, the American Lung Association in Hawaii will continue its support to fund comprehensive tobacco prevention programs at or near levels recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and will work to support legislation to increase taxes on other tobacco products.


  • Economic Cost Due to Smoking: $686,772,000
  • Adult Smoking Rate: 14.6%
  • High School Smoking Rate: 8.7%
  • Middle School Smoking Rate: 3.6%
  • Smoking Attributable Deaths: 1,163
  • Smoking Attributable Lung Cancer Deaths: 372
  • Smoking Attributable Respiratory Disease Deaths: 226

Adult smoking rate is taken from CDC's 2012 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. High school and middle school smoking rates are taken from the 2011 Hawaii Youth Tobacco Survey.


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