Hawaii Will Become First State To Raise Minimum Smoking Age To 21
Hawaii’s new tobacco laws go into effect Friday and limit sales of both cigarettes and electronic cigarettes to people 21 or older.
On Friday, Hawaii will become the first state in the U.S. to raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco products to 21. A secondary measure specifically prohibits the sale of electronic cigarettes to anyone under 21.
On Jan. 1, Hawaii’s State Department of Health will start a three month campaign to let the public know about the new law, which was signed in June by Governor David Ige. After that, people under 21 caught smoking will be fined $10 the first offense and $50 every time after that.
Businesses that are caught selling tobacco products to people under the age of 21 will be fined $500 for their first violation and up to $2,000 for subsequent offenses.
The bill to raise the minimum smoking age was in part inspired by the rising use of electronic cigarettes by young people. Officials cited a University of Hawaii study by the Cancer Center that found e-cigarettes were used by teens three times the national average.
A few cities in the U.S., such as New York, have already made it illegal to sell cigarettes to customers under 21, while other states, including California, are considering similar bans.