‘Blowing clouds’: WCA March panel discussion to address what vaping means to the community

WAIMEA — At this Thursday’s Waimea Community Association (WCA) meeting, panelists will talk about what vaping means to Waimea from health, freedom of choice and other perspectives — especially when products are sold in close proximity to schools.

The monthly meeting, open to the public, will begin at 5:15 p.m. in Waimea School’s cafeteria.


Electronic Smoking Devices (ESDs) — or e-cigs — have exploded on the scene in Waimea with three vape shops including a “vaping lounge” within walking distance from Parker School, Waimea Elementary and Middle Schools.

“Some schools in town report a sharp increase in students bringing vaping paraphernalia to campus, which the State Department of Education considers “contraband” at Hawaii public schools,” WCA president Patti Cook said. As of 2012, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that 1.78 million school kids across the country had at least tried e-cigarettes.

Panelists at the meeting will include two Waimea vape shop operators, plus Dr. Gary Goldberg, chief medical officer at North Hawaii Community Hospital, Kohala Elementary School Principal Danny Garcia, Sally Ancheta with Hawaii Public Health Institute and a representative of Hawaii County law enforcement. The discussion will include recent scientific studies about the “popcorn effect,” and the use of e-cigs in combination with tobacco products and cannabis.

A rapid ohia death (ROD) update will also be shared, now found and confirmed in the Kohala Watershed. The ROD Working Group will present reports done after collecting 10 samples from a single private property in Kohala, eight of which were confirmed to have Ceratocystis Sp. A — the more virulent of the two species currently found in ohia. The Kohala Watershed Partnership and Big Island Invasive Species Committee are leading crews to collect and test more samples to get a clearer picture of the infestation. The talk will include strategies to prevent the spread of ROD and what is being done.


There is no charge to attend the meeting but WCA membership is encouraged.

More info: Go to www.Facebook.com/WaimeaCommunity Association, or call Patti Cook at 937-2833.