Electronic Cigarettes

E-cigarettes, also known as electronic smoking devices (ESD) and vaporizer cigarettes, are battery-operated devices that emit doses of nicotine and non-nicotine vaporized solutions that are inhaled. While their manufacturers say they are an alternative for tobacco smokers who want to avoid inhaling smoke, critics say too little is known about the safety of ESDs because they are not regulated.

However a recent study found that young people who are using ESDs to quit smoking might be smoking more, not less.  Of great concern are the wide range of e-cigarette candy-flavors that appeal to youth.

In 2012 the Hawai‘i state legislature passed a law restricting sales of ESDs to anyone under the age of 18.  In 2013 5.1% of school aged children in Hawai‘i had tried ESDs.

On April 24,2014 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration proposed measures  that would ban the sale of e-cigarettes to consumers younger than 18, but would not restrict flavored products, online sales or TV advertising.  If finalized, companies would be required to submit new and existing products to the FDA for approval. They would have two years to submit their applications from the time the rule goes into effect.  Many public health advocates feel the regulatory scope is too limited.

With Americans puffing less each year, the cigarette industry sees ESDs and other smokeless products as financial saviors. E-cigarette sales tripled between 2012 and 2013 rising from $500 million to over $1.5 billion and are expected to soon exceed the sales of traditional cigarettes, motivating giant tobacco and other non-cigarette companies to market this product.

December 31, 2014 CNN video

“Vaping” may not be safer than smoking traditional cigarettes

  • Former smokers and new smokers may be attracted to E-cigarettes because of unproven claims that they are safer and more accepted than traditional cigarettes.
  • E-cigarettes have not been fully studied, and the safety and long-term health risks of “vaping” are not fully understood.
  • E-cigarettes emit more than water vapor. Nicotine and other potentially harmful chemicals may be inhaled during use.
  • Secondhand vapor from E-cigarettes may also be unsafe.

E-cigarettes may not be helpful to quit smoking

  • Some studies show that E-cigarettes may be helpful to quit. Other studies show that people are more likely to use both E-cigarettes and traditional cigarettes at the same time. Using both increases the negative health impacts of tobacco and the risk of nicotine poisoning. For free help to quit tobacco call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669).

Children and teens should not use E-cigarettes

  • E-cigarettes may appeal to children and teens because of their high-tech design, easy availability online or in mall kiosks, and variety of flavor options.
  • Electronic smoking devices (ESD) cannot be sold to minors under 18 [HRS 709-908 amended by HB672 HD 2 SD 2 CD1],
  • Retailers and anyone selling tobacco products including ESD must post a sign at the point of sale warning customers it is unlawful to sell these products to minors under 18.. [HRS 709-908 amended by HB672 HD 2 SD 2 CD1].
  • It is unlawful for any minor to purchase tobacco products including an electronic smoking device  [HRS 709-908 amended by HB672 HD 2 SD 2 CD1],
  • E-cigarettes do not have the same advertising rules as traditional cigarettes. Some E-cigarette ads include cartoon characters and celebrity endorsements.

There are safety concerns associated with E-cigarettes, especially for children

  • It is important to store all nicotine products out of reach of children. Nicotine can be poisonous, especially in liquid form. “E-juice” refills may be harmful to children. There is no requirement for child safety caps or safety information when selling E-cigarette refills. Refills come in bright colors, appealing flavors, and scents, making it more likely that children will put the liquid in their mouths.
  • Just a few drops of “E-juice” absorbed by the skin or swallowed can send a child to the emergency room. Ingesting as little as one-third of an ounce of “E-juice,” which is less than the amount of liquid in a coffee creamer, may be fatal for children.

Pregnant or breastfeeding women should not use E-cigarettes

  • There is no safe level of nicotine for pregnant or breastfeeding women.
  • There are health risks to infants of mothers who use E-cigarettes. E-cigarettes have some of the same negative health impacts as traditional cigarettes for developing fetuses and infants.
  • Nicotine passes from mother to child in the womb, and through breast milk.
  • Nicotine stays in the body of mothers and babies. Babies can test positive for nicotine after being exposed.
  • Babies exposed to nicotine can have problems with feeding, and may have delayed mental and physical development. Nicotine can harm brain development, or cause impaired learning, attention deficit, and memory loss in infants and children.

Tobacco Prevention & Education Program – 1250 Punchbowl St. Rm 217- Honolulu, HI 96813
Phone: (808) 586-4613 / Fax: (808) 586-8252