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Anti-vape advocates, tobacco industry applaud Gov. Ige's plan to veto flavored product bill

Vaping Illnesses vaping devices file photo e-cigarette
Steven Senne/AP
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AP
FILE - In this Tuesday, April 10, 2018 photo, a high school principal displays vaping devices that were confiscated from students at the school in Massachusetts. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Anti-tobacco advocates and the local tobacco industry are both applauding Gov. David Ige’s decision to veto an anti-vaping proposal.

House Bill 1570 proposes banning flavored tobacco products, including menthol.

Ige said while he supports efforts to curb vape use, he couldn’t find any anti-tobacco advocates who supported the measure.

Amanda Fernandes, the policy and advocacy director at the Hawaiʻi Pacific Health Institute, said the bill was corrupted by amendments made by the Senate Health and Education Committee.

"The amendment was actually requested by a person who is the registered lobbyist for Juul Labs. And what this amendment does is it essentially exempts a bunch of flavored tobacco products, including many menthol cigarettes and anything that is authorized in the future by the FDA," Fernandes told HPR.

"But it also would exempt basically anything that hasn't already been taken off the shelves by the FDA. And so it cedes all state authority over ending the sale of flavored tobacco products from the state to the federal government," she said.

In a release, Volcano Vape Shops COO Scott Razak said the measure would create a black market and worsen youth vaping in the state.

He said the state should find a way to enforce the state’s 21 and over law to address black market sellers online.

Casey Harlow is an HPR reporter and occasionally fills in as local host of Morning Edition and All Things Considered. Contact him at charlow@hawaiipublicradio.org or on Twitter (@CaseyHarlow).
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