Hawaii Lawmaker Introduces Bill to Gradually Ban the Sale of Cigarettes

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Hawaii Lawmaker Introduces Bill to Gradually Ban the Sale of Cigarettes

02/05/2019
Tobacco legislation
Proposed legislation would prohibit the sale of cigarettes to anyone under 100 by 2024.

HONOLULU — It was the first state to bring Tobacco 21 legislation statewide and now one legislator wants Hawaii will become the first state to phase out cigarettes.

State Rep. Richard Creagan (D-5th District) introduced HD1509 which "progressively bans the sale of cigarettes by raising the minimum age of persons to whom cigarettes may be legally sold to 30 years of age in 2020, 40 years of age in 2021, 50 years of age in 2022, 60 years of age in 2023, and then 100 years of age in 2024," according to the Hawaii State Legislature's description of the bill.

State Reps. John Mizuno (D-28th District) and Cynthia Thielen (R-50th District) joined Creagan in sponsoring the bill on Jan. 24. It passed on first reading and was referred to committee on Jan. 28.

As the Hawaii Tribune reported, Creagan said he does not think taxes and regulations are doing enough to stem the use cigarettes.

"It's slowing it down, but it's not stopping the problem," he said. "Basically, we essentially have a group who are heavily addicted — in my view, enslaved by a ridiculously bad industry — which has enslaved them by designing a cigarette that is highly addictive, knowing that it highly lethal. And, it is."

The bill does not apply to electronic smoking devices or cigars, which Creagan, sees as safer alternatives. It also omits chewing tobacco, according to the news outlet.

In June 2015, Hawaii Gov. David Ige signed legislation making Hawaii the first state to adopt 21 as the legal minimum age to buy tobacco products. The law went into effect on Jan. 1, 2016, as Convenience Store News previously reported.