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Tobacco is hurting Hawaii – Here’s what you should know

Hawaii Tobacco Quitline

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Hawaii Tobacco Quitline

Tobacco isn’t just a danger to those who smoke or vape. It remains a vicious societal issue – a worldwide menace of epic proportions – perpetuating death, disease, poverty, pollution, deforestation and more.

Here’s What You Should Know About Tobacco Use In Hawai‘i:

#1 – Tobacco is still among Hawai‘i’s top health threats

Hawaii Tobacco Quitline

Hawai‘i has made great strides in establishing a smoke-free social norm. Hawai‘i has the 3rd lowest percentage of smokers in the nation at 13.1%.1 But tobacco continues to kill in our state – costing lives and costing millions. It’s a fact – and so are these:

● Each year in Hawai‘i, smoking kills 1,400 people.2

● In Hawai‘i, $526 million in healthcare costs are directly attributed to smoking every year.2

● Without intervention, 54,000 keiki will become smokers.2

#2 – Vaping among our keiki has reached a tipping point – WE must act now

Hawaii Tobacco Quitline

It’s no accident. Tobacco companies are forever searching for the next “replacement smoker” and vapes are the mechanism of nicotine addiction for the next generation. Despite the laws and regulations already in place, our keiki are still at risk. In 2017, 1 in 4 (25.5%) public high school and 1 in 6 (15.7%) public middle school students reported currently using electronic smoking devices (ESD)3, also known as vapes or e-cigarettes. Use is even higher at the county level with Hawai‘i and Maui county public high school students reporting in 2017 current ESD use above 30%.3 To learn more about the dangers of vaping visit and for help in quitting tobacco use/vaping and nicotine addiction in youth visit

#3 – Tobacco preys on Hawai‘i’s most vulnerable populations

Hawaii Tobacco Quitline

Tobacco discriminates. In Hawai‘i specifically, smoking disproportionally affects groups by race and ethnicity, income and education, mental health and substance use disorders, as well as groups such as the LBGT communities and the homeless.2 These groups smoke at higher rates than the general population in Hawai‘i. People with mental health and substance use disorders, for example, are twice as likely to smoke.2

#4 – Vapes ARE a tobacco product

Hawaii Tobacco Quitline

There is NO vape product or e-cigarette device that is approved by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) to help you quit smoking. The FDA has determined4 and also under Hawai‘i law, vapes or “electronic smoking devices” are included in the definition of a tobacco product.5 Why is this a threat? The vape industry markets itself as an alternative to cigarettes. Some smokers switch to vapes and think they’ve quit, but the reality is that they are just getting their nicotine fix in a different form. The addiction to nicotine still exists.

#5 – Inaction threatens a sustainable, tobacco-free world

Hawaii Tobacco Quitline

It’s important to know these facts so you can help spread the word, educate others and increase awareness. Use your voice to make a commitment to quit tobacco or help someone who wants to quit. You are an influencer.

● Post or Tweet a supportive statement or one of the facts in this article on your social media.

GET INVOLVED – the Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Hawai‘i has tobacco coalitions in every county. Check to see how you can help!

EDUCATE YOURSELF and your keiki about the dangers of vape products.

● Like or comment on the Hawai‘i Tobacco Quitline Facebook Page.

● Spread the word – literally and via social media – about the Hawai‘i Tobacco Quitline.

Help us make sure everyone knows that the Hawai‘i Tobacco Quitline offers FREE help to anyone in Hawai‘i with quitting cigarettes, vaping, smokeless tobacco, etc. A youth program is available for teens aged 13-17 years. The Quitline offers free custom quit plans and free patches, gum, or lozenges to those who sign up to quit. The number is 1-800-QUIT-NOW. You can also sign up online at

Hawaii Tobacco Quitline

1 Hawai‘i State Department of Health, Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), 1997-2016

2 Holmes JR, Ching LK, Cheng D, Johnson L, Yap L, Starr RR and Irvin L. Tobacco Landscape. Honolulu; Hawaii State Department of Health, Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion Division. 2018.

3 Hawai‘i State Department of Health, Hawai’i School Health Survey: Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS), 1997-2017

4 Federal Register. Department of Health and Human Services, Food and Drug Administration. Deeming Tobacco Products To Be Subject to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, as Amended by the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act; Restrictions on the Sale and Distribution of Tobacco Products and Required Warning Statements for Tobacco Products; Final Rule. Vol. 81. No. 90, 2016.

5 Hawai‘i Revised Statutes, Chapter 328J.

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