It’s a rather uneasy time for vapers in Hawaii, to say the least.
First, lawmakers went for public vapers. Despite research increasingly noting that e-cigarettes are healthier than regular tobacco cigarettes, the State of Hawaii applied a blanket ban on vaping in public places. For two years now, it has been illegal to vape in workplaces and public places where smoking tobacco is already prohibited.
Fair enough. At least we can still vape in private, plus selected public zones.
Then they went for young vapers. And made it illegal to sell tobacco cigarettes and e-cigarettes to anyone under the age of 21.
Undoubtedly a double tragedy for young vapers. It’s seemingly not a good time to be an under-21 who particularly enjoys vaping publicly.
Then they left us alone. Or so we thought.
In January, a group of six senators then proposed bill SB2304, which would dictate where tobacco cigarettes and e-cigarettes shops would be allowed to run.
So, of course, the accompanying prong hit every vaper pretty hard. Through a separate bill SB2654, the state is seeking to limit shipping of tobacco products, including e-liquids. Only sellers and distributors will be permitted by law.
And you know what else? In addition to that, the bill also proposes to impose 70% wholesale tax on vape products in Hawaii. Astonishing, isn’t it?
What It Means For Vaping in Hawaii
Essentially, this will make it illegal to sell e-liquids to private buyers through online platforms. So you’ll have to drop your favorite vaping juice website altogether.
That leaves only one option. Buying it the old fashioned way from offline retailers.
And this won’t be easy either. Because they will only be allowed to operate at least 750 feet away from public housing complexes, parks and schools.
If you live in urban Hawaii, you’ll notice that there isn’t much space that meets this criterion. You’re going to spend more time looking for a store than actually vaping.
And even if you’re lucky enough to locate one, you’ll need deep pockets to maintain a steady supply of fine vape juice. That’s because vape products won’t be cheap anymore.
In addition to the pleasant relaxation effect, the bulk of vapers have always enjoyed the habit since it’s inexpensive. Especially compared to tobacco cigarette smoking.
Okay, technically, it’ll still be cheaper than tobacco cigarettes since the tax applies both ways. But 70% is well into the upper side, don’t you think?
And sellers, just like in any other business, won’t have much of a choice here. They’ll have to offset the tax by increasing product price proportionately.
Consequently, you’ll be paying almost double of what you fork out now. If anything, you should be stocking up your favorite vaping products before the vape apocalypse hits.
But, seriously, what options are Hawaiian vapers looking at now?
What Next For Hawaiian Vapers
Thankfully, there could be a way out.
Laws are made by the people, for the people. It cannot sail through successfully if the people of Hawaii overwhelmingly reject it.
Now, we acknowledge that while vaping is exceedingly healthier than tobacco smoking, there are still health risks attached to it. And reportedly, the bill might be seeking to prevent widespread e-cigarette abuse.
But, the vaping community is all about responsible recreational vaping. That’s why vapers been living comfortably within the boundaries set by previous legislation.
This time around, however, the community is seemingly not going down without a fight. Vape products in Hawaii are already subject to sales tax. Additional sin taxes would only be progressively regressive since they primarily affect honest business people.
That’s pretty much what Switzerland ultimately realized after making it illegal to deal in or smoke e-cigs. The court, subsequently, had no choice but to overthrow the entire vaping ban.
So the vaping community is calling on everyone to take action and oppose by law. A good place to start would be getting in touch with your lawmaker to request a rejection vote.
Want to keep vaping in Hawaii and other locations legal and affordable? Consider joining these advocacy groups.