ESD Prohibition

ACT 19

Starting January 1st 2016, electronic smoking devices (ESDs) will be prohibited wherever smoking is prohibited by state law (Chapter 328J, HRS).

Electronic smoking devices produce an aerosol of undetermined and potentially harmful substances.  In recent years, ESDs have grown in popularity among youth and young adults both nationally and in Hawaii.  Between the years of 2011 and 2013 experimentation with electronic smoking devices (ESDs) or e-cigarettes tripled among high school students and quadrupled among middle school students.  Nicotine exposure to young developing brains is dangerous according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  Manufacturing of the products is currently unregulated, leaving the safety of the products’ contents in question.

Not only does this new law protect people from the dangers of secondhand smoke, it also protects individuals from exposure to harmful chemicals found in aerosols emitted from ESDs.  Eliminating the act of smoking or using e-cigarettes in public places also dissociates unhealthy behaviors from places where people gather.  This is an important way to discourage youth from starting and also help people who want to quit smoking.


What is the new update to the smoke-free law?

The smoke-free law now includes electronic smoking devices (ESDs) or e-cigarettes.  This means that starting January 1st, 2016, wherever smoking is prohibited in bars, restaurants, and public places or workplaces, ESDs are also prohibited.

Where is smoking prohibited by this law?

Smoking of all kinds is not allowed in:

  • Enclosed or partially enclosed public places and places of employment.  This includes buses and taxicabs, sports arenas, outdoor arenas, stadiums, and amphitheaters
  • Facilities owned by the state or the counties.
  • Hawaii airports from cabin to curb
  • Enclosed or partially enclosed common areas of any apartment or condominium (including but not limited to lobbies, elevators, hallways, etc.)
  • 20 feet from any entrances, exits or operable windows or ventilation intakes to partially enclosed or enclosed public places or places of employment.

Restaurant/Bars/ Businesses

What do we need to do to comply with this new law?

You need to:

  • New No EcigPost a sign at each entrance with “Smoking Prohibited by Law” with words at least one-inch high and legible [symbol] or the international “No Smoking” symbol, consisting of a pictorial representation of a burning cigarette enclosed in a red circle with a red bar across it. The Department of Health highly recommends adding the words: “including e-cigarettes and all other electronic smoking devices” and the “No Smoking” symbol including a pictorial representation of an e-cigarette as illustrated here:
  • The Sign must be legible, prominently posted, and properly maintained.
    • You must not allow customers or workers to smoke or use ESDs in your establishment or within 20 feet of your entrances, exits, and ventilation intake

If I am a restaurant, bar or business owner, can I establish my entire property as smoke-free (including ESDs)?

Yes.  Section 328J-8 provides that owners, operators, managers or other persons in control of an establishment, facility, or outdoor area may declare that an entire establishment, facility or outdoor area or any part of it be smoke-free, including ESDs

How do I deal with people who want to smoke or use e-cigarettes?

You or your staff must remind them of the law and can politely explain that they must step outside (more than 20 feet from windows, doors, exits, etc.) to smoke or use ESDs or e-cigarettes.

What do I do about a customer who refuses to comply?

The purpose of the law is to protect others from the harmful effect of secondhand smoke and aerosol.  For tips on how to handle difficult situations, call the Department of Health Tobacco Prevention and Education Program at (808) 586-4613 or toll free at 1 (800) 810-8112.  If the violator is threatening physical harm or is belligerent, it may be necessary to call the police.

What are the fines for this law?

Failure to comply with the act subject the business to fines. Businesses that don’t comply with the law may be fined $100 for a first offense, $200 for a second offense, and up to $500 for subsequent violations.  Repeated offenses could result in the loss of permits and licenses.

Where can I get information about the new law?

The new law can be read in its entirety at

Visit the Hawaii State Capitol website and search for “HRS 328J”

How can I file a complaint?

You may call the Hawaii State Department of Health at (808) 586-4613 to report an observed violation of this law.

Are there any resources available to help businesses educate their employees or inform customers about the new law?  Where can businesses go if they have questions or need assistance?

For more information or resources to help educate staff about the new law, contact the Tobacco Prevention and Education Program at the Hawaii State Department of Health (808) 586-4613 or call toll free at (800) 810-8112.

How can I support my employees and patrons if they want to quit smoking?

For free patches and coaching, adults 18 and over may call the Hawaii Tobacco Quitline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (…..) or visit the website at…..    for online support.

There are also many community supports.  Check out the “Clean Break” resource guide at ……


For both laws starting January 1st, 2016

Email blasts or newsletters:

Starting January 1st, 2016…

The purchase and possession of tobacco products, including electronic smoking devices, will be illegal to those under the age of 21. (There is an exception for under aged employees who must handle tobacco products for work duties only.)  For new law language and other details and about this law:

Also starting on January 1st, 2016, wherever smoking is prohibited by state law currently, e-cigarettes (or electronic smoking devices) will also be prohibited.  This pertains to enclosed or partially enclosed places open to the public or places of employment.  For new law language and other details about this law:

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