Although the negative health impacts of cigarettes have been widely explored, the effects of vaping are less clear due to its relative newness. Nevertheless, recent studies have concluded that e-cigarettes may contain heavy metals like lead, cancer-causing agents, and volatile organic compounds. These can cause serious health issues to users after prolonged use.
Recently, Hawaii has taken action to combat proliferated use of vapes, following the alarming rate at which it’s being used across the islands. With the American Lung Association declaring Hawaii as a state with one of the highest air quality rankings in the country, these initiatives can further reduce air pollution and heighten local populations’ respiratory health. Here’s what you need to know about e-cigarettes in Hawaii.
The impacts of vaping
A growing pool of data has shown that although vaping may be less harmful than tobacco use, it’s not entirely harmless. E-cigarettes are often used as frequently as cigarettes, and in many cases, this has led to lung injuries among users. Research from the University of Hawaii at Manoa adds that flavorings in vapes, especially menthol, can harm respiratory health by impairing the lung surfactant, a lipid-protein film that plays a central role in regulating normal respiratory functions in the lungs. The study’s author, Yi Zuo, says that such findings should prompt actors to better regulate the use of e-cigarettes.
Government actions against vaping
Last year, Hawaii’s House of Representatives passed a ban on flavored e-cigarettes. House Bill 1570 was made effective at the start of this year, effectively outlawing the sale of flavored tobacco products. The bill’s main target was dessert-scented flavored e-cigarettes, which are particularly appealing to users. However, facing extreme challenges from the business owners and the public, the bill was amended to exempt products authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Since this would leave most flavored products available for purchase, Gov. David Ige eventually vetoed the bill in mid-2022.
This year, lawmakers are renewing their efforts to pass House Bill 537. This would tax e-cigarette products at a rate of 70%. While questions are being raised about how this would deter users willing to pay even more for vapes, there remain active and persistent efforts to mitigate e-cigarette use in Hawaii.
How you can quit
Given the alarming health consequences of vaping and the need for the Hawaiian government to improve its regulation, you may want to try quitting on your own. Instead of quitting cold turkey — a method the Truth Initiative Given the alarming health consequences of vaping and the need for the Hawaiian government to improve its regulation, you may want to try quitting on your own. Instead of quitting cold turkey — a method the Truth Initiative reports doesn’t work for smoking or vaping — consider calling a quit hotline or undergoing nicotine replacement therapy (NRT). The Hawaii Tobacco Quitline at 1-800-Quit-Now can connect you to experienced coaches who can personalize cessation plans to your needs and preferences.
Meanwhile, the smoke-free products involved in NRT can help you gradually transition to lower doses and effectively reduce your nicotine intake over time. An excellent smokeless nicotine alternative would be nicotine pouches, discreet small bags of nicotine tucked between the gum and lip for up to an hour. The ZYN nicotine pouches at Prilla, in particular, are specifically designed with Americans in mind. Initially released in Colorado and Montana, ZYN tweaked its pouches to cater to local preferences by using high-tech distillation procedures to remove tobacco and are white inside and out to prevent the oral health effects of smoking and vaping, such as tooth decay and gum disease. Another product you can use is nicotine gum, which you use like normal gum. Habitrol’s nicotine gum offers doses of 4 mg and 2 mg so that users can switch to lower doses, and it can be soothing to users because the chewing motion replaces the action of vaping. These smokeless alternatives help save your lungs from the toxic chemicals in e-cigarettes.
Vaping can be insidious because false marketing highlights its supposed health benefits. As the Hawaiian state government continues to fight e-cigarettes, you can undergo your own smoking cessation journey towards better health.