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Hawaii’s youth gather at state Capitol to rally against vaping

Young people across the country gathered today to take a stand against tobacco. In Hawaii, youth from almost every island showed up to the State Capitol to show their support for Senate Bill 1009, which would ban flavored tobacco in Hawaii.

Dozens of middle school and high school students sported bright pink shirts and walked from Aloha Tower to the State Capitol for a rally against vaping, which was hosted by the Hawaii Public Health Institute.

“For the kids it’s more important because they’re spending a day out of their spring break to come and advocate and let lawmakers know how important this issue is to them,” said Trish La Chica, policy and advocacy director for the Hawaii Public Health Institute.

First Lady Dawn Ige presented a proclamation, on behalf of state Governor David Ige, declaring March 20th to be “Kick Butts Day” in Hawaii.

One Mililani Middle School student said she knows of an 8-year-old who was peer-pressured into trying a flavored tobacco product.

“That’s something really big because an 8-year-old should not be smoking or using a vape in general,” said Shelby Seu, 12.

Other lawmakers showed up to show support and sign wave with the youth, including, Lt. Gov. Josh Green, Sen. Karl Rhoads, Rep. Aaron Ling Johanson, Sen, Rosalyn Baker, and Sen. Kurt Fevella.

If SB 1009 becomes law, it would make Hawaii the first state to ban flavored tobacco. Other counties have done it in the Continental U.S. but no entire state has made the move yet.

Tyne Phillips/Star Advertiser