Keiki Addicted to Dangerous Habits by Asians

Researchers in the Aloha state told Civil Beat reporter, Eleni Gill, that a combination of marketing and a sluggish economy is to blame for Hawaii’s “head start” on a dangerous and addictive trend sweeping the nation and started in Asia — vaping of nicotine.

Vaping-related illnesses exploded to 1,888 this week, most recent figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and thirty-eight deaths have been reported by federal and state health officials. The 284 new cases this past week is the largest recorded increase in recent months.

eCigs offered a promising and highly-addictive new opportunity for small business owners and entrepreneurs, especially as the economy lagged on neighbor islands, in the opinion of Kathryn Akioka, who is a tobacco treatment specialist at Hamakua-Kohala Health Center on Big Island.

Hawai’i Governor, David Ige: Cannabis Bad; eCigs Equal Profits for Friends

Profits over public health. Legal addictive-drug dealers courtesy of elected officials in Hawai’i! Politicians will take away a worker’s job and employment for using Medical Cannabis in the privacy of their home but allow our keiki to be addicted-for-life by greedy, money-grubbing child predators. Welcome to the Aloha State of Hawai’i where children do not matter.

“When the recession hit, the Big Island was the last to recover. You had adults looking for something to be able to go back to work. We saw vape shops pop up all over the place.”
Kathryn Akioka

Justin, 17-year-old high school senior, began smoking eCigs as a sophomore while attending private school on O’ahu. When he transferred to a public school, he found many of his new classmates had the same habit.

“You gotta be pretty strong to quit, not gonna lie. It’s harder than cigarettes.”
Justin, 17-year-old high school senior

Since vaping devices entered the market about 10 years ago, the practice has exploded in popularity among youngsters in Hawai’i, particularly on the outer islands. As of August 2019, it is estimated there are 670 electronic smoking device retailers (ESDs) who have state certificates to sell vaping items to unsuspecting consumers. In comparison, there are twelve (12) Medical Cannabis dispensaries in the state.

Civil Beat notes Kauai County was home to the highest number of shops per capita selling those supplies, followed by the Big Island and Maui. [source]

“No other product is as easily available and at a good price,” Valerie Saiki told Civil Beat. Ms. Saiki conducts educational presentations at schools across Kauai as a coordinator for the Hawaii Public Health Institute. She’s reported students sell electronic smoking devices (ESDs) for as much as $60 each to other students at school.

“When I talk to students directly in classrooms, they don’t hold back and tell me, ‘Oh yeah, somebody brings to school and they sell it.’”
Valerie Saiki, Hawaii Public Health Institute

Civil Beat documented 7-Eleven Stores own the most retail locations with ESD certificates having 66 businesses in the state. ABC Stores is second place as the largest retailer of vaping products with 64 locations statewide.

Only retailers with four or more locations are included in this list.
Complete list available:
Chart: Eleni Gill/Civil Beat

Next to Colorado, Hawai’i has highest reported vaping rate among middle schoolers and second highest vaping rate among high schoolers in nation.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2017)

Chart: Carlie Procell/Civil Beat
Source: CDC Youth Behavioral Risk Survey 2017

Twenty-five percent of — one out of four — high school students claim they vaped at least once within the past month. This alarming trend finally woke Hawai’i public health officials and advocates to focus on the trendy devices have addicted a new generation to nicotine in Hawai’i.

Hawai’i was the first state to raise the legal smoking age to 21 in 2016, and five other states – California, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Oregon and Maine – have followed.

Asian Culture Is Poisoning America’s Youth

Pallav Pokhrel, associate professor and researcher at UH Cancer Center who studies the effects of eCig advertising on attitudes and behaviors of youngsters in Hawai’i reported to Civil Beat, “I’m speculating, but part of the reason is Hawaii’s proximity to Asia, because vaping was big in Korea, Japan and China before it came here.”

Source: Civil Beat, Honolulu

Aloha e Eleni,
Thank you for your important article this week about vaping (source). Society told consumers vaping was a safe and healthy way to consume nicotine … and later, THC. Kids like the head rush and high. They’ve been fooled to believe this would be safe. I’ve been warning elected officials and business leaders for years. Here are my articles from this past June.

Kaua’i County Elected Officials

O’ahu County Elected Officials

Our children do what we do. They learn from us. And they will buy what our businesses sell. Vaping products could be sold through the twelve (12) Medical Cannabis dispensaries. Adults who seek “harm reduction” from smoking of tobacco could obtain a DOH authorization as medical cannabis patients due today.

Vaping of nicotine is likely “better” for people than smoking tobacco. It possibly helps people quit smoking. This is good. Selling these products to the general public in cool packaging and with kid-enticing flavors is criminal.

For profit, local businesses are addicting young consumers for life. What kind of leaders and adults allow this to happen to our children, keiki and youngsters?

Thank you for having the ethics and strong character to write about this alarming behavior.

Mahalo nui loa!


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Ko’olau of Kaua’i. I am the Defiant One
“I Believe We Can”

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