Hawaii Becomes First U.S. State To Raise Smoking Age To 21

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Hawaii Becomes First U.S. State To Raise Smoking Age To 21 hawaii smoking WEBAP

Hawaii’s governor signed a bill on Friday to officially raise the legal smoking age in the state to 21, making it the first U.S state to do so.

The law takes effect on January 1, 2016, and also bans the sale, purchase or use of electronic cigarettes for those under the age of 21.

In a statement, Governor David Ige said:

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.

Most U.S. states (and the UK) set the legal smoking age at 18, although a few have set it higher at 19. Some cities and counties, including New York City and Hawaii County, have already raised the smoking age to 21.

Lawmakers in Washington and California are also pushing to raise the legal smoking age to 21.

Opponents of the bill have argued that it limits choice for people considered adults in other situations, like joining the military.

The Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids said that tobacco use kills 1,400 people and costs around $526 million in medical bills annually in Hawaii, while roughly nine out of 10 smokers start before the age of 21.


NBC News