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Hawaii Regulators Raise Legal Smoking Age To 21

Hawaii Legal Smoking Age

In Hawaii, state legislators proposed a bill which effectively increases the state’s smoking age and Governor David Ige (D) has signed the bill into law, making Hawaii the first state to raise the legal smoking age to 21.

The new measure, which was signed into law on Friday, controls both traditional cigarettes as well as electronic cigarettes, also known as e-cigs.

Once the bill goes into effect on January 1, 2016, first offense violators will be fined $10 and repeat offenders will be fined $50 or mandatory community service, The Associated Press reported.

Jessica Yamauchi, the executive director of the Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Hawaii, was quoted by the AP in a report published on ABC 7 News as having said that she thinks “it’s going to have a tremendous impact” which “will really help to curb the prevalence.”

I think it’s going to have a tremendous impact (…) By really limiting the access it will really help to curb the prevalence.

Opponents of the bill have iterated the point that a veteran returning from military service, someone who risked their life in the service of their country, could be prevented from smoking a cigarette or an e-cigarette for that matter. Echoing this point, Democratic Rep. Angus McKelvey, who voted against the bill, said that while he thinks cigarette smoking is “disgusting,” the issue resides in telling someone that they can go and fight for their country and get killed, but they can’t have a cigarette.

I can’t stand cigarette smoking. It’s disgusting (…) But to tell somebody you can go and fight for your country and get killed but you can’t have a cigarette, that’s the thing. You can enter a contract. You’re an emancipated adult in the eyes of the Constitution but you can’t have a cigarette anymore.

According to the governor’s office of Hawaii, 86 percent of the state’s adult smokers began before the age of 21, US News reported.

Democratic Gov. Ige also signed another anti-smoking measure on Friday which makes the state’s beaches and state parks smoke-free zones.

In other news, a recently published study has found a link between smoking and 12 different types of cancer and an unrelated study found that the smoking death toll is higher than previously thought.

What do you think of Hawaii raising the state’s legal smoking age to 21?

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