The governor of Hawaii has signed a bill which raises the legal smoking age to 21. This makes Hawaii the first state in the US which took such measures. Starting with January 1 next year people who are under 21 cannot purchase, sale and use of both normal and electronic cigarettes.
Gov. David Ige signed the bill into law on Friday. Other local governments such as the one from New York City and Hawaii County have also introduced similar bans. This move was made with the purpose of preventing teenagers from getting accustomed with the unhealthy habit of smoking.
When the bill was signed in the governor’s State Capitol office he declared that prohibiting anyone under 21 to smoke, purchase and possess cigarettes means taking a step forward to reduce the influence smoking has on their community.
It seems that 86 percent of the adult smokers in Hawaii started smoking when they were younger than 21. Governor Ige declared:
“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.”
In Hawaiian “keiki” means children.
The executive director of the Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Hawaii, Jessica Yamauchi is of the opinion that raising the legal smoking age is going to influence the community tremendously. If the access is really limited the prevalence of smoking can be curbed, she added.
Those who oppose the bill claim that it limits the choices of those people who can be considered adults in other contexts, such as for example those who have joined the army.
Studies have discovered that raising the smoking legal age to 21 or even 25 would noticeably reduce smoking and more importantly illnesses which are caused by smoking. Moreover researchers have also found out that the majority of US adults are in favor of raising the minimum age to buy cigarettes.
People under 21 who will be caught breaking the rules risk to get a $10 fine if it is their first offense. For other violations the fine can be up to $50 and even mandatory community service. The governor signed another anti-smoking measure on the same day which says that people will no longer be allowed to smoke in parks and on beaches.
Image Source: Drug Free