Hawaii To Become First State To Raise Smoking Age
According to Time, Hawaii can become the first state to raise the smoking age after a bill has passed “banning the sale, use and possession of cigarettes and e-cigarettes to people under the age of 21.”
The bill made its way through the Legislature with a 19-4 win on Friday and is now heading to Governor David Ige’s office, which would ban adolescents from smoking, buying or possessing both traditional and e-cigarettes.
"Today we have the opportunity to change the paradigm," said Democratic State Sen. Rosalyn Baker, who introduced the bill, according to the Associated Press.
There are already plenty of local governments that have raised the smoking age to 21 in specific counties and cities, including New York City and Hawaii County. And then there are the states that have banned smoking in public areas, restaurants, and campuses, like Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Vermont.
If the bill is signed into law, first-time offenders will see a $10 fine, and repeat offenders can be hit with a $50 fine or be required to complete community service, and could go into effect January 1, 2016.
“According to the State Department of Heath, 5,600 kids in Hawaii try smoking each year, and 90 percent of daily smokers begin the habit before age 19. Meanwhile, 1,400 people die from tobacco use or exposure in Hawaii every year, according to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.”