Hawaii Lawmakers Move To Eventually Ban Cigarettes Completely

A plan to eventually ban cigarettes entirely by raising the legal smoking age to 100, incrementally over the next five years could make Hawaii the first state in the US to do so.

Hawaii has been leading the battle against smoking for years and was the first state in the union to raise the legal age for smoking to 21 in 2016. 

Two Democrats and a Republican in the Hawaii State House of Representatives are sponsoring legislation this year to raise the legal smoking age in Hawaii which is currently 21years to 30 years in 2020, 40 years in 2021, 50 years in 2022 and, finally, 100 years in 2024.

The bill is being sponsored by Democrat state Rep. Richard Creagan, a doctor, Republican state Rep. Cynthia Thielan and Dem. sate Rep. John Mizuno.  It exempts electronic cigarettes, cigars, smokeless tobaccoand other alternatives.  The bill is now on hold, however, after it was introduced to the Hawaii State House of Representatives on January 24, 2019.

The bills language states that “the cigarette is considered the deadliest artifact in human history. The cigarette is an unreasonably dangerous and defective product, killing half of its long-term users.”

According to the Center For Disease and Prevention (CDC) cigarette smoking is on the decline dropping to 14 percent between 2005 and 2017. In spite of that decline, however, Rep. Creagan, MD, still believes that in order to save lives it is necessary to have the proposed smoking ban in place.

But will it really help?  According to the American Heart Association’s   (AHA) ’State of Tobacco Control’ report for this year, many federal and local governments have failed in their efforts to curb tobacco use. 

The AHA report pointed out that several states fail to do the following: strengthen smoke-free workplace laws, increase tobacco taxes, giving help to smokers to quit and of course raising the legal age for smoking.

The CDC highly recommends that states establish comprehensive, sustainable and accountable control programs.  They recommend that this be done through community interventions, public education, and quitting programs that would have surveillance, evaluation, administration and management.

Even though e-cigarettes are exempt from the ban it will be under the scrutiny of the new law’s expanded indoor air ordinance when it does go into effect covering all government and private workplaces, schools, childcare facilities, restaurants, retail businesses and cultural facilities.

Statistics provided by the CDC show that cigarette smoking contributes to 480,000 deaths every year which is preventable and is linked to 90 percent of lung cancer deaths.