Hawaii is working though a number of fairly major bills right now, but those that don’t pass by Thursday this week will apparently die. This includes legalization of medical marijuana dispensaries, ability for transgender individuals to be able to change their gender designation on their birth certificate, and, of course, a public vaping ban in all places where smoking is also prohibited.
The bill wouldn’t just ban vaping in many public places, but would also ban sale of e-cigs and vapor products to anyone under the age of 21. This is not something unusual by any stretch… but it is unclear whether bans like this actually help anyone. The short version of the counter argument is that rules like this may only serve to prevent smokers from transitioning to a less harmful alternative and that teens that are going to experiment anyway might be driven toward the far more dangerous tobacco cigarettes than their electronic counterparts.
It is distinctly possible that this bill may die though. A looming legislative deadline requires that it pass by Thursday this week or the entire process must start over. Given some of the other bills in play — which I would consider more important and easier to justify — this one may be put on the backburner.
On the other hand, Hawaii’s leadership might push this one through if they assume they know best and have fallen for the belief that they’re fighting some righteous fight against tobacco and saving the youth of Hawaii. In fact, this might be exactly why the bill is all about raising the smoking age first and the public vaping ban second.
We’ll keep an eye on the situation.