East Hawaii News

New Policy on E-Cigs to Mirror Regular Cigarette Ban

October 13, 2014, 2:29 PM HST
* Updated October 13, 2:31 PM
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Electronic cigarettes are now prohibited in all State government buildings under the jurisdiction of the Department of Accounting and General Services.

The policy to regulate the use of the cigarettes, also known as electronic smoking devices or e-cigarettes, went into effect this month as part of the State of Hawai’i’s commitment to keep workplaces and public locations smoke-free.

“Based on various tests, vapors or aerosols emitted from e-cigarettes contain nicotine and other carcinogens and toxic chemicals that are just as harmful as those in secondhand smoke of regular combustible cigarettes,” according to Linda Rosen, director of the Hawaii Department of Health. “It’s important that consumers be aware that e-cigarettes are not healthier than regular cigarettes, for users or those around them.”

Mirroring the current law for regular cigarettes, the new policy is based on the Hawai’i Smoke-Free Workplace and Public Places Law, which went into effect nearly eight years ago. The November 2006 law prohibits smoking tobacco products in places open to the public and places of employment.

Under the state’s newly issued policy, e-cigarettes are prohibited from use in any enclosed or partially enclosed area such as offices, lobbies, lanai, interior courtyards, patios, covered walkways, and 20 feet from entrances, exits, windows that can opened, and ventilation intakes that serve enclosed or partially enclosed areas.

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The Health Department hopes that policy changes set the tone for private sector employers and others in the community to follow.

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“We anticipate the smoke-free zones of other employers will also begin to include e-cigarettes to protect their employees, customers and others in the public,” Rosen said.

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