July 13, 2018-
House Bill 1895, an otherwise well-meaning and worthy bill to fund needed kidney dialysis centers in the state, contains a last-minute provision, snuck into the bill behind closed doors by special interests without public discussion or review, that will greatly harm public health and help the tobacco industry. This provision would block (preempt) county governments in Hawaii from passing their own laws to reduce tobacco use, including measures addressing the sale of candy-flavored tobacco products and menthol cigarettes that attract kids.
It is truly outrageous that the tobacco industry worked in secret to include this damaging, last-minute provision in a bill aimed at improving public health and shows how far the industry is willing to go to preserve its profits at the expense of kids and lives. We are disappointed the legislature acquiesced to this damaging provision and urge them to revisit this legislation next year, remove the offending provision and tell Big Tobacco that protecting Hawaii’s kids comes first.