A bill has been signed by the Hawaii governor banning people younger than 21 to smoke. The same goes for electronic cigarettes and adolescent will be banned from buying and possessing tobacco as well. The law was signed on Friday by Governor David Ige. A large number of local governments have already approved this measure, including New York City and Hawaii County.
“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 will grow up tobacco-free,” said Ige, using the Hawaiian word for children.
The bill was a result of a worrying fact that as many as 86 percent of smokers began with the nasty habit before they were 21. Jessica Yamauchi, executive director of the Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Hawaii said she thinks the law will have a tremendous impact.
There are also a large number of critics saying that it does not seem fair that a veteran who put his life on the line for the country is prevented from having a smoke.
Persons younger than 21 who are caught smoking will pay USD 10 if it is their first offense, and up to USD 50 for later violations. Community service will also be a penalty option. The law will go into effect on January 1 2016.
Photo attribution: Tyler.Kruse