Yesterday lawmakers in Hawaii passed a bill that will raise the legal smoking age to 21. This will make the state the first in the nation to do so. After clearing the house last week the bill passed the state senate by a 19-4 vote. The bill also includes the banning of the sale, purchase and use of e-cigarettes for anyone under the age of 21.
Democratic state Senator Rosalyn Baker, one of the bill’s sponsors, told the press: “The activities we’ve engaged in over the years to manage smoking, our additional efforts in education, the raising of cigarette taxes, this is a continuation of those policies.”
She also stated that opponents of the measure have argued that it limits choice for people considered adults in other situations, such as voting or joining the military but noted: “To me, giving someone the choice to have lung cancer is not a good choice.”
Most of the 50 states have a legal smoking age of 18. A few have raised it to 19. Some specific locations such as New York City and Hawaii County have already changed the legal smoking age to 21.
The measure will have to be approved by Governor David Ige. Jodi Leong, spokesperson for his office reported that Ige would review the bill and then finalize a decision possibly next week.
Legislators in both the state of Washington and California have been actively engaged in raising the legal smoking age to 21 in the past few months.
Research teams have previously discovered that raising the minimum legal age to purchase all tobacco products to 21 or even 25 years old would significantly decrease both smoking and the number of tobacco-related illnesses in the US. They have also learned that a majority of adults in the US actually favor increasing the legal smoking age to 21.
Hawaii Raises Smoking Age To 21?