Electronic cigarettes — aka electronic smoking devices or e-cigarettes — are now prohibited in all state government buildings under the jurisdiction of the Department of Accounting and General Services.

The new policy went into effect this month and is part of the state’s “commitment to keep workplaces and public locations smoke-free,” according to the Department of Health. “The policy sets the tone for private sector employers and others in the community to follow.”

DOH Director Linda Rosen said, “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. It’s important that consumers be aware that e-cigarettes are not healthier than regular cigarettes, for users or those surrounding them.”

E-Cig smoker exhales in downtown Honolulu on July 9, 2014.

An e-cig smoker exhales in downtown Honolulu.

PF Bentley/Civil Beat

The new policy is based on the 2006 Hawaii Smoke-Free Workplace and Public Places Law. That law prohibits smoking tobacco products in places open to the public and places of employment.

Here are the specifics: E-cigs 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 be opened and ventilation intakes that serve enclosed or partially enclosed area.”

For additional information on laws and policies for a smoke-free environment, click here.

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