As the e-cigarette epidemic continues some Hawaii teens are taking a stand against tobacco


As the e-cigarette epidemic continues to spread across the nation, some teens in Hawaii are taking a stand against big tobacco.

"Vaping is a gateway to using traditional cigarettes," Alexis Cortes of the Coalition for a Tobacco Free Hawaii said.

At the State Capitol, students stepped out of class to try to sway lawmakers into supporting a ban on flavored tobacco sales in Hawaii.

"A lot of students do it, they hide their vapes inside their hoodies and stuff they hide them in their pants I see it everywhere," Siaki Tuitavake a student at Washington Middle School said.

According to the Hawaii Children's Action Network, Hawaii has the third highest rate of vape use among high school students across the nation.

"Currently its three times the national average within middle school students and twice the average within high school," Cortes said.

These students claim tobacco companies are hooking a new generation of kids on nicotine through flavored e-cigs.

The ban, just one of several bills being pushed forward in the Keiki Caucus's 2019 package.

"They really don't care where they do it at my school they some kids do it in the classroom some kids do it outside of school its really weird how they would do that," Tuitavake said.

Two other bills introduced include putting an end to new and renewable retail tobacco permits for businesses located within 750 feet of schools or public playgrounds and a bill to outlaw shipping tobacco products to anyone in Hawaii who doesn't have a tobacco license.

Friday, January 25th 2019, 10:38 PM HST by KITV Web Staff