Hawaii Becomes First State to Raise Legal Smoking Age
Starting in 2016, Hawaiians will have to be 21 years or older to purchase cigarettes. This new ruling makes Hawaii the first state to raise the legal smoking age.
The bill was passed last week in hopes of preventing adolescents from purchasing cigarettes and experimenting with smoking. Lawmakers believe that if the cigarettes are harder to obtain, the adolescent smoking rates will decline. Over five thousand adolescents try smoking in Hawaii each year, according to the state Department of Health. Additionally, 86 percent of Hawaiian adults started smoking before they were 21 years old.
If a person is caught attempting to buy cigarettes in Hawaii under the legal age, they will be fined $10 on the first attempt. There are harsher penalties if caught more than once. Lawmakers hope the fines along with the legal age raise will curb smoking.
Also last week, Hawaii passed a bill to ban smoking on beaches and state parks.