Hawaii’s New Tobacco and Prevention Laws Begin January 1st

The Hawaii State Department of Health wants to remind the public that, effective Jan. 1, 2016, you must be at least age 21 to buy tobacco products and electronic smoking devices (e-cigarettes) in Hawaii. Hawaii is the first state in the nation to raise the minimum age for tobacco sales to 21. A second measure, which also goes into effect on Jan. 1, incorporates e-cigarettes into Hawaii’s smoke-free laws, meaning that the use of e-cigarettes is now prohibited where smoking and/or using tobacco products is already banned.

No Smoking in Hawaii

“We are proud to once again be at the forefront of the nation in tobacco prevention and control,” said Director of Health Virginia Pressler. “While our comprehensive approach to addressing tobacco use in Hawaii has led to quantifiable decreases in deaths due to smoking, an increase in targeted marketing to our youth and young adults and new technology in the form of e-cigarettes requires our state to take additional measures to protect our young people.”

Acts 122 and 19 were passed by the State Legislature during the 2015 session and signed into law by Governor Ige. Raising the minimum age to purchase tobacco products to 21 (Act 122) is a nationally recommended strategy. In the U.S., 95 percent of adult smokers begin smoking before the age of 21. Nearly half become regular, daily smokers before age 18, and an additional 25 percent become regular, daily smokers between ages 18 and 21. The 18 to 21 year group is therefore a time when many smokers transition to regular use of cigarettes.

The use of e-cigarettes in existing smoke-free locations can expose non-smokers and vulnerable populations such as children and pregnant women to aerosolized nicotine and other toxic substances. Act 19 protects the public from unwillingly inhaling chemicals emitted by e-cigarettes that may contain nicotine and carcinogens such as formaldehyde, metals and nitrosamines.

While smoking rates have drastically decreased among Hawaii’s youth and adults, there has been a recent and rapid increase in e-cigarette use. Only 5 percent of Hawaii public high school students reported trying e-cigarettes in 2011 versus 22 percent in 2014, representing a 344 percent increase in e-cigarette use in just four years. Among middle school students, e-cigarette use jumped 542 percent during the same time period, from 2 percent in 2011 to 12 percent in 2014.

Adult e-cigarette use was 20 percent in 2014. “Acts 122 and 19 make tobacco products including e-cigarettes less accessible and less attractive to our youth,” said Lola Irvin, Administrator for the Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion Division. “Prevention is the best strategy, and youth are especially vulnerable to nicotine addiction. By prohibiting their use in public places, the new laws encourage a no-smoking norm.”

The timing of these new laws coincides with the start of 2016, an ideal time to make and keep New Year’s resolutions to quit using tobacco products and/or e-cigarettes. If you are over 18 and need help quitting tobacco or e-cigarettes, contact the Hawaii Tobacco Quitline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW or go to hawaiiquitline.org to connect with a quit coach and receive nicotine replacement therapy, free of charge.

For more information about the new tobacco control laws, including new signage for retailers, please visit: http://health.hawaii.gov/tobacco/home/retailx/.

Confirmed Dengue Fever Cases on the Big Island of Hawaii Rises to 182

The Dengue Fever outbreak on the Big Island continues and the total confirmed amount of cases rose by 1 more case since the last update bringing the total amount of confirmed cases to 182.

Mosquito Bite

As of December 29, 2015*:

Since the last update, HDOH has identified 1 new case of dengue fever.  Currently, as many as 2 of the confirmed cases to date are potentially infectious to mosquitoes. All others are no longer infectious.

Potentially infectious individuals
2 Illness onset  12/20/15
Cases no longer infectious
180 Illness onset 9/11/15 to 12/18/15
Past and present confirmed cases (Cumulative TOTAL)

Of the confirmed cases, 164 are Hawaii Island residents and 18 are visitors.
146 cases have been adults; 36 have been children (<18 years of age). Onset of illness has ranged between 9/11/15 – 12/20/15.

As of today, a total of 727 reported potential cases have been excluded based on test results and/or not meeting case criteria.

For a map of potential areas of infection by mosquito for confirmed dengue fever cases, click HERE**. (Updated December 23, 2015)

For Hawaii Island Dengue Fever Unified Command Updates, click HERE. (Updated December 2, 2015)

CDC Interim Assessment of the Response by the Hawaii State Department of Health to the Dengue Outbreak on the Island of Hawaii

HDOH continues to routinely monitor for cases of imported dengue infection on ALL islands and will continue to have Vector Control perform mosquito site assessments and abatement as needed. Since the beginning of our current investigation on Hawaii island, two imported dengue fever cases have been confirmed (one on Oahu and one on Hawaii), and one imported chikungunya case (on Hawaii) has been confirmed. These cases are not associated with the Hawaii island investigation.

Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers Names People of the Year

The Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers (HTFG) names the recipients of its appreciation awards, given annually to supporters of the state’s local fruit industry. The five award recipients include Mark G. Wright, Ph.D.; David Frenz, Tracie Matsumoto, Ph.D; Lisa Keith, Ph.D; and Peter Follet, Ph.D.

htfg logo

“The Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers feels it’s important to recognize those who make significant contributions to the tropical fruit industry across the state,” said Ken Love, HTFG executive director. “Past winners include chefs, growers and researchers.”

Dr. Wright of the Department of Plant and Environmental Protection Sciences at the University of Hawai‘i-Manoa was cited for his continuous support of HTFG and helping statewide growers better understand the benefits of integrated pest management.

Frenz of Birds and Budz in Hilo was recognized for “dedication to high quality propagation while helping growers realize there are many plant varieties to consider.”

Both affiliated with the USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and the Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center (PBARC) in Hilo, Dr. Matsumoto and Dr. Keith were honored for continuously supporting HTFG and its programs through research.

Dr. Follet, also of USDA ARS and PBARC, was tapped for HTFG support and quarantine update education.


The 2016 Hawaii International Tropical Fruit Conference is September 30-October 2 at the Aqua Kauai Beach Resort on The Garden Isle.

Geared to farmers, educators, orchard managers and proponents of sustainable agriculture, the weeklong event is presented by the statewide Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers (HTFG).

Registration forms, speaker itinerary and fee schedule will be available in April at www.htfg.org or by contacting Love at [email protected] or Mark Suiso at [email protected].

Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers

Marking its 26th year, HTFG was incorporated in 1989 to promote tropical fruit grown in Hawaii. It is a statewide association of tropical fruit growers, packers, distributors and hobbyists dedicated to tropical fruit research, education, marketing and promotion; www.htfg.org.