Hawaii Vaping Tax: Will be same like cigarettes soon

Hawaii Vaping Tax

If you’re a vaper residing in Hawaii, it’s time to brace for significant changes. Governor Josh Green has recently made headlines by signing a game-changing measure. Starting from the 1st of January, vaping products will be taxed at the same rate as traditional cigarettes. And believe it or not, we’re talking about a whopping 70% rate.

Up until now, Hawaii had no tobacco tax on e-cigarettes and e-liquids. That was surprising to many, given the increasing popularity of vaping, especially among the younger generations. However, all of this is about to change, and the rationale behind it is compelling.

“The crisis of vaping disproportionately affects adolescents, especially high schoolers,” Governor Green declared during the bill-signing ceremony. But the data backs up his words. As it turns out, 1 in 3 of Hawaii’s high schoolers and 1 in 20 middle schoolers have either used or are currently using e-cigarettes or vaping products.

State Senator Jarrett Keohokalole supports the Governor’s stance, pointing out that this issue goes beyond public health—it’s become a crisis in schools. “We’ve heard it year after year from our educators and school faculty,” he affirmed. The hope is that the new tax will deter vaping use, particularly among youth.

While the 70% tax may seem steep, it’s crucial to remember that combating a health crisis is never an easy task. As Governor Green rightly pointed out, “It takes decades to make all the difference, and today was really a huge start.”

Hawaii’s bold stance on vaping is not the first time it’s led the nation in enacting preventative health measures. In 2015, the state was the first to implement the Tobacco 21 policy. This groundbreaking initiative prohibited anyone under 21 from possessing, consuming, or purchasing tobacco products in any form.

Young advocate Joshua Ching argues that we need to attack this problem at its roots. “We need to strengthen licensing and permitting laws and the exploitative sale of flavored tobacco products,” he noted. The goal? To create healthy communities where youth using big tobacco is an afterthought.

In essence, Hawaii’s new vaping tax isn’t just about fiscal policy—it’s a crucial part of a broader strategy to combat a burgeoning public health crisis. While it may be a bitter pill to swallow for e-smokers, it’s a step towards ensuring a healthier future for Hawaii’s youth.

Matthew Ma