Keiki Caucus says it hopes to ban flavored vaping products this year
The 2022 legislative session kicked off Wednesday, starting a nearly five-month process that will shape Hawaiʻi’s future.
In the coming days, hundreds of bills will be introduced to improve a variety of state services including education and student health care.
On Tuesday, legislators and advocates with the Keiki Caucus unveiled their priorities for the upcoming session.
The caucus will be introducing nearly 30 bills covering issues such as sex trafficking, after-school programs, and sex education.
Another measure proposes banning flavored vaping products.
State Rep. Scot Matayoshi said the bill will make it harder for kids to purchase these products.
"95% of smokers start before the age of 21 and 81% of youth have tried a flavored nicotine product as their first tobacco product," he said. "So these products really are a gateway into nicotine addiction."
"What really hit home for me is that 31% of middle schoolers have tried vaping — and that's the age of student that I used to teach when I was a DOE teacher. So that really struck a chord in me that a third of my students would have been vaping right now or would have tried a flavored vaping product," he told Hawaiʻi Public Radio.
"It's really targeting kids. That's what makes it very insidious. And it's disguising nicotine, which is a highly addictive drug as a candy-flavored product."
Matayoshi acknowledged past efforts to ban flavored tobacco products have fallen short but says he is hopeful for this year.