Hawaii is First State to Raise Legal Smoking Age to 21, Others Might Follow

Last Friday, the Hawaiian governor signed a bill that raised the legal smoking age in the state to 21, making Hawaii the first state to implement such measures.

Though the law has been signed, the effects of the law, which ban the sale, use, or purchase of even electronic cigarettes to anyone under the age of 21, will still take effect on Jan 1, 2016.

In a statement, Governor David Ige said that “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 (children) will grow up to be tobacco-free.”

Last Friday, Ige also signed a bill that banned the use of e-cigarettes at state parks and beaches. These activities were already banned in all other cities and country Parks except Kaua’i County.

Most U.S. states have their legal smoking age set at either 18 or 19. However, a few cities and counties, such as New York City and Hawaii County, are pushing or have pushed their legal smoking age to 21.

However, the bill is not without opponents. Some argue that the bill limits choices for adults in special circumstances such as individuals already engaged in military service. How this will affect other areas will remain to be seen.

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