Hawaii lawmakers aim to raise smoking age to 100 in next 5 years

Bill would gradually eliminate access to cigarettes

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Hawaii made history in 2016 when it became the first state to raise its minimum age for purchasing tobacco products to 21, and now, a state representative is pushing to have cigarettes nearly eliminated by 2024.

Hawaii Rep. Richard Creagan, who is also a medical doctor, is aiming to phase in a ban that would raise the age requirement.


By gradually raising the age, officials believe the state will be able to focus initially on the younger age groups, while also finding sources to replace state cigarette sales taxes.

Hawaii's ban would exempt electronic cigarettes, cigars and smokeless tobacco.

“The legislature also finds that smoking has killed one hundred million people in the twenthieth century and is likely to kill one billion people in the twenty-first century … In Hawaii, cigarettes have caused more preventable disease, death, and disability than any other health issue, each year claiming the lives of more than one thousand four hundred adults and contributing to more than twenty thousand premature deaths of minors,” the bill states.

It goes on to quote Nicola Roxon, Australia's former minister for health, who said, “We are killing people by not acting.”

[Read the full bill here.]

In the United States, adults ages 18 or older who currently smoke accounted for 14 percent in 2017, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s down from almost 21 percent in 2005.

The CDC lists the many health problems it says are associated with tobacco, and with the numbers stated above, it seems as though many have heard the health risks at some point.

“There is no other consumer good in the market that is as dangerous as cigarettes,” said Action on Smoking Health’s executive director, Laurent Huber.

ASH, which strives to move the world to a place where it is free from harm caused by tobacco, is in full support of the bill.

"ASH is not anti-smoker — it is anti-tobacco," the website states. "ASH has been a leader in this movement since its inception in 1967."

So with the interest in smoking appearing to decrease, is it time to remove access to it altogether?

About the Author:

Dawn is a Digital Content Editor who has been with Graham Media Group since April 2013. She graduated from Texas State University with a degree in electronic media.