Hawaii Five-No

Posted 24th July 2020 by Dave Cross
The 50th U.S. state has voted to push forward with a new bill to ban ‘flavoured’ eliquids, saying a big Hawaii Five-NO to tobacco harm reduction. The Senate Ways and Means Committee all voted for the measure, conveniently forgetting that ‘tobacco’ is a flavour too, adults cite sweet flavours as being important to help them quit, eliquid is not ‘tobacco’, and the ‘teen epidemic’ doesn’t exist.

Hawaii Five-O’s Steve McGarrett and Danny 'Danno' Williams solved many mysteries during the television series 279 episodes in the 1960s, but special state police task force are left with a huge crime to solve – that of malfeasance in public office.

The Senate Ways and Means Committee members:

The twelve members of the committee need to get in the sea if they genuinely believe this bill can help combat the blight of tobacco-related disease on the islands.

HB 2457 “RELATING TO THE YOUTH VAPING EPIDEMIC”, states: “Bans the sale of flavored [sic] tobacco products. Prohibits mislabeling [sic] of e-liquid products containing nicotine. Establishes fines and penalties for violations. Authorizes a court to impose, as a penalty on a person eighteen to twenty-one years of age who is convicted of possession of a tobacco product or electronic smoking device, the requirement to complete a tobacco education program, complete a tobacco use cessation program, or perform community service instead of paying a fine. Effective 9/1/2020.”

Hawaii has a long established opposition to facts and evidence when it comes to tobacco harm reduction. The Cancer Center at the University of Hawaii claimed there was evidence of vaping being a teen gateway to smoking, in 2016 [link]. At the time, Professor Michael Siegel pointed out that the paper’s authors had failed to provide any evidence whatsoever.

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This followed researcher Pallav Pokhrel claiming the previous year that PG and VG mix in vape to create formaldehyde.

By 2017, the frothing anti-science rantings were taking on a new dimension [link] and deeply flawed studies were being churned out over the next couple of years to support ideological positions [link].

What was compelling the islanders down this path of scientific illiteracy? Probably absolutely nothing at all to do with the woeful financial administration - that received an “F” grade from Truth In Accounting in 2019 [link].

Declining tobacco sales is hitting the state in the pocket, and the experience of COVID-19 cutting off Hawaii’s number one source of income – holidaymakers – means it is more desperate than ever to shore up revenue.

What better than to hit this new free market hard and amorally drive smokers back to cancer sticks. After all, there’s a teen epidemic dontchknow.

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Except the entire notion that Hawaii has a teen vaping problem was holed below the waterline earlier this year when the Heartland Institute demonstrated only a small fraction of teens actually vaped daily [link].

It is disingenuous for lawmakers to decry a ‘youth vaping epidemic,’ when so little youth are using such products on a daily basis. More often than not, youth are using vapor products in social settings among peers, similar to youth alcohol use.”

Adult smokers are being thrown under the Hōkūleʻa for a cash grab. Innocent vapers and legitimate businesses are to be criminalised. The politicians involved are a disgrace.

As an aside, H(awaii)5-NO equates to the chemical symbol for ammonium hydroxide – something that induces nausea, shock, CNS depression and extreme irritation. Quite apt in the circumstances.

Book ‘em all, Danno.



  • The Senate Ways and Means Committee – [link]
  • House Bill 2457 HD2 SD2 – [link]
  • Financial state of Hawaii – [link]
  • Flavor ban is wrong policy to reduce Hawaiian youth e-cigarette use”, Heartland Institute – [link]

 Dave Cross
Article by Dave Cross
Freelance writer, physicist, karateka, motorbikes, and dog walker
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