Health News

Hawaii’s New Tobacco & E-Cig Laws Kick In Next Month

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New tobacco legislation is scheduled to go into effect in Hawaii at the onset of the new year and with it comes new regulations governing electronic cigarettes.

In addition to raising the legal smoking age in the state to 21 — the first state in the nation to do so — the new law regulating tobacco products prohibits the use of e-cigarettes where smoking has already been prohibited, which includes restaurants.

The inclusion of electronic cigarettes comes as the result of health officials being made aware of a large increase in the number of public school students in Hawaii trying e-cigs, ABC News reports. Over the course of just four years, the percentage of students vaping with e-cigs quadrupled – raising the rate to 22 percent in 2015.

As for middle school students in the state, the percentage of users reportedly increased by six times the rate seen just four years prior.

A town in Massachusetts, Needham, raised the legal smoking age to 21 back in 2005. As of this year, the percentage of adult smokers in the town is down 50 percent in comparison to the rest of the state.

In Hawaii, underage tobacco buyers are to be cited with a $10 fine for their initial offense. As for those who sell such products, the first offense is punishable by a fine of $500 while subsequent offenses will prove more costly, as the amount of the fine increases with subsequent offenses.

Back in June, Hawaii’s Governor Ige stated that the increase in the minimum smoking age comes as part of the state’s “comprehensive tobacco control efforts” that “will help reduce tobacco use” among the state’s youth while increasing the likelihood that they’ll grow up free of tobacco.

Raising the minimum age as part of our comprehensive tobacco control efforts will help reduce tobacco use among our youth and increase the likelihood that our keiki will grow up tobacco-free

What are your thoughts on Hawaii’s decision to raise the legal smoking age to 21?

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