Sorry smokers, it looks like the bad news just keeps on coming. A few months after Marlboro announced they were thinking about getting rid of their cigarettes and focus on e-cigarettes and safer tobacco products, now, a new bill is aiming to stop people from buying them all together. A Hawaii state lawmaker has proposed legislation to effectively ban cigarette sales by raising the minimum smoking age to 100.
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Yes, 100. Which basically means no one would be able to buy them. Democratic state Rep. Richard Creagan’s bill would raise the minimum legal smoking age, which is currently set at 21, in stages increasing to 30 in 2020, 40 in 2021, 50 in 2022, 60 in 2023, and eventually to 100 by 2024. If approved, the restriction would only apply to cigarettes, meaning one could still buy e-cigarettes, chewing tobacco, or cigars.
Creagen created to bill feeling it was the states “obligation” to protect the public’s health. The Hawaii lawmaker believes cigarettes put not only smokers but those exposed cigarettes in grave danger that could be avoided altogether.
“This is more lethal, more dangerous than any prescription drug, and it is more addicting. In my view, you are taking people who are enslaved from a horrific addiction and freeing people from horrific enslavement. We, as legislators, have a duty to do things to save people’s lives. If we don’t ban cigarettes, we are killing people.”
Hawaii already has a tight cigarette law, being one of the only states to have a minimum age requirement of 21 to purchase them. Most state’s legal age to purchase cigarettes is 18. In an effort to work together, Creagen isn’t the only one working to push restrictions on tobacco sales. State Sen. Dru Kanuha proposed an increase in the excise tax on cigarettes up to 21 cents, from 16 cents. The bill said the excess revenue would go towards health programs and research. Creagan’s bill is slated to be taken up by a State House Committee this week.
Now, as someone who has never smoked in her life, I get it. We’re trying to get rid of all smokers, which is a good thing for second-hand smokers and the environment. But, banning the age to 100? That’s a tad excessive, isn’t it? But hey, anything to help save people’s lives. This will sure help reduce tobacco use, whether we like it or not.